Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bloggers, Journalists need some sort of rules

In chapter six of her "The Weblog Handbook", Rebecca Blood said the weblog network's potential influence may be the real reason mainstream news organizations have begun investigating the phenomenon, and it's the big reason for much of the discussions held about weblogs as journalism. It's no secret that paper will become an obsulete commodty in the print world and will be replaced by electronic screens. Someone will have to be putting a 24/7 network of this news out for the masses to swallow. So, it may be a good idea for journalists to learn about what bloggers can do and can't do. It seems the two may have to coexist under the same roof in a few years. Journalists like the wide audience it caters to, while bloggers seem to have a targeted audience it preaches to. That's why the audience is vital to a journalists' life. The bigger the audience, the bigger advertising revenue package becomes available. A blogger doesn't have to worry about ad revenue. If he has something to say, he says it. If his voice is heard as well as liked by those who seek it, he'll have a steady audience. if not, people will bounce around like a ball in a pinball game and search for a voice they want to hear.
While the journalist operates under a strong code of ethics, blogegrs don't have to abide by this rule of behaviior. This is where things get a little sticky. The agenda of the blogger and journalist are very different, but this is where the journalist has the integrity. Operating under rules helps the journalist assure his credibility. Bloggers have no professional journalists, no codes of operation and very little guidance or rules that are set in granite to guide them. The blogger's greatest strength is also the very thing that may kill him....an uncontrolled voice and the lack of censorship.They have no one to answer to like a journalist has. Blood is absolutely corrects when she says, "the lack of gatekeepers and the freedom from all consequences-may compromise their integrity and thus their value." You have to believe in the people who are crapload of information on the blogs. If you have any questions on accuracy or truth, no one is going to pay attention to the writing on the Internet.
Bloggers can not work on rumors as they do. Journalists can't survive on rumors and have to check, or are supposed to check, and double check every piece of information. Journalists have to make sure the quotes are accurate for fear of being sued for libel. In Journalism, there are a set of standards to go through to make sure nothing is left uncovered. The facts. Correct facts are constantly being checked for accuracy. The blogger doesn't go this far because they can't. They don't have the training, the credentials the editorial department or the time to do the job a journalist can do. A blogger can second-guess and "think" they know something. A journalist has to know it's fact before putting it out to the masses.
Like a journalist, a blogger should only print what they believe is true. A blogger should link his sources, so readers know that he has something to back up his story. This is "truth" for the blogger The more links a blogger has to his story, the stronger it is and isn't apt to be punched full of holes. If there is any misinformation, own up to it immediately. Don't let bad information stay bad too long. That's why journalists have a correction column. It shows you're capeable of admitting a mistake, owning up to it and correcting it.
Leave every draft on the blog. Don't cover it up or delete it. Show the original story and how the facts had changed through good journalism. If a blogger has a conflict of interest, say it, don't let someone find out about it. At least if you say you have a conflict, people may appreciate your honesty and integrity. Journalists usually don't accept free things or are allowed to have a conflict of interest. If they do, they are usually taken off the story.
Also, bloggers shouldn't be taken in, either, by questionalble or biased sources. Soime people have an agenda and hide that when helping a reporter out. If the bl;ogger knows they have a bias, it should be put into a story. Usually, journalists will stick to sources who aren't biased. if they do, they usually find another opinion to go along side a biased report.
Credibility is so important. Without it, a blogger and a journalist won't survive. If a person shows good conscience and works hard to attain facts, people will read because they know the blogger and journalist are working for credibility.

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