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Arment Dietrich

Blogging Code of Ethics

By: Arment Dietrich | March 28, 2008 | 
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Blog written by Sydney Ayers, APR

I’ve been thinking about blogging lately.  (I suppose it’s funny that I am doing that on a blog but there you have it.)  We have been recommending that clients become actively engaged in the blogosphere for some time now but we insist they follow the rules.  “Rules?”, you ask.  Yes, rules. 

While the blogosphere may seem to some like the Wild West, there has been debate as to whether bloggers should follow any code of ethics.  We maintain they should.  After all, they are taking part in the public discourse and shaping opinion.

Specifics differ but most codes of ethics for bloggers encourage the following:

Report honestly, fairly, and accurately – It is important that bloggers identify sources, correct inaccuracies, and distinguish between fact and opinion.

Be transparent – Bloggers should identify conflicts of interest, affiliations, or personal agendas.

Minimize harm – Just because a blogger can take anonymous swings at a person or organization doesn’t mean that is the best course of action. 

Be accountable – The most respected bloggers expose the unethical practices of other bloggers and abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

This in my mind is just common sense.  Maybe I am mistaken but I see the blogosphere is another place where people can debate issues, share information, discuss popular topics, and most of all, connect with one another on a global scope.  Of course, in the end, it is up to the individual blogger to decide what, if any of these guidelines he or she follows.

If you are interested in following ethical blogging practices, two good guides are available at cyberjournalist.net and mediabloggers.org.  Best of luck and keep on blogging!

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