Official blog of Clark's Blogging for Journalists class, Mass Communication department

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blogging ethics?

Read these links. What three principles do you consider essential to blogging ethics? Comment below.


  1. When it comes to blogging ethically, a blogger should strive for accountability above all else. Holding yourself accountable to the truth and to the ethical standards of blogging as well as those of general human interaction will put you on a path to success. Such things as tone and accuracy will fall into place naturally by striving to hold oneself accountable. If you can honestly say you've done your best to make things honest, clear, and avoided a negative or harsh tone, you can probably bet your post will be ethical.

  2. Three ethical principles that I consider essential to blogging are accountability, minimizing harm, and being fair.

    Accountability is important when it comes to blogging because once someone posts something in writing, the author of that is now accountable for what they have written whether it resulted in positive, negative, or no consequences at all.

    I personally think minimizing harm is important when it comes to blogging (or anything) because it is unnecessary to hurt someone or try to create something that could hurt others.

    Being fair is an important ethical trait to keep in mind when blogging because what you post on the Internet is out there for the world to see. How others interpret information could be much different than how you interpret the same information. It is always a good idea to be aware of others' points of view.

    There are many ethical principles that could be essential to blogging. These three are particularly important to me because in my life they don't only apply to writing but to everyday social life.

  3. 1. Be Honest and fair. Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information
    2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
    3. Minimize Harm. Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.

  4. I think it's important to remember that, bloggers may print speculation or unconfirmed information that would not be published or broadcast at a traditional news outlet. Some journalist/bloggers defend that practice, however, saying readers understand there’s a different standard at a blog site." As pointed out in the second link, the weblogs's greatest strength is that its uncensored, unmediated, and has an uncontrolled voice, which are also its greatest weakness. Of everything I've read, I think this code of ethics is the most important:
    Minimize Harm
    Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
    Bloggers should:
    • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
    • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
    • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
    • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.
    • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
    Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

  5. Blogging is not a simple task and also requires bloggers to abide with certain ethical guidelines. Always be honest and fair and strive for accuracy. A blog should avoid any biases and include facts and not merely full of opinions. Another is always reference your works borrowed from other sources. Anything you decide to put in your blog, but not completely came from you, learn to be accountable for it. Do not plagiarize somebody else's works. Lastly, minimize harm. A blog should be a way to share knowledge and information to people and not actually a tool to target others personally.

  6. Bloggers do not need to follow the same ethical standards as a journalist who works for a newspaper or a more 'corporate official' media outlet. That being said, ethics are part of everybody's life no matter whether they are journalists or bloggers or not. Bloggers do need to be ethical human beings but do not have to follow the same standards. It is a slippery slope.
    In social media, objectivity is not a requirement the way it is at work in the news. Blogging goes under the same umbrella.
    When a reader visits a blog, they know what they are reading is different than traditional news. I really like what the second link said about referencing the information through links.

  7. I believe it should be an understanding among the blogging community to state their stance in the news world. What I mean by this is to let it be known if they are an opinionated citizen or part of a small or large news organization. The reader should know about whom's writing they are reading.

    A blogger should also uphold the same level of accuracy as a news organization. The writer needs to understand the power of the written word.

    The blogger should also understand harm. If you do not agree with with a local schoolboard member about his or her vote on millage, you should not retaliate by questioning their sexuality, calling them a communist, or rant about setting their dog on fire.

  8. The first thing a blogger should take notice is the accuracy of the post. Blog post are updated very quickly. It is best for readers to read posts that has no errors to make the read runs smoothly. Honesty is very essential to blogging because false information can lead readers to not follow the blog. If it is an opinionated post, a blogger should avoid any kind of harm towards potential readers. This would cost the blog to have a bad feedback and lost of credibility. If the post is accurate, honest, and free of harm, that will be the most essential principles of blogging ethically.

  9. When it comes to blogging I would say that the most important ethics would be honesty, humility, and minimize harm.

    Honesty is the best policy as the saying goes. Make sure you disclose any type of bias. Question sources that seem questionable. You want to make the blog your own, but at the same time you do not want to lie to the public about information that may just be opinion and they don't know it.

    Humility is important because if you did state something wrong or may have offend a reader you want to be able to publicly address that with class. If your statement happens to be untrue be humble enough to restate the facts.

    Minimizing harm is extremely important. You do not want to "call people out" or put their personal lives on display. Be sensitive to others and understand that some may not be as open as you.

  10. I think one field in particular of ethical blogging is to be honest and fair:
    • Never plagiarize.- Using someone's work and using it as your own is not only unethical, I believe it is stealing. Not giving credit when credit is due is unfair, and unethical.

    The second point in unethical blogging is that the public has the right to know as much public information as possible:
    • Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.- Because the public has the right to know information pertaining to the topic at hand, having reliable sources and reliable information is crucial.

    The third point of unethical blogging is:
    • Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.-No publicly shared information should be altered or misrepresented, and stated as the truth.You as a blogger who posts altered photos or misleading or false information can make you, and your blog not a credible source.

  11. Because of the uncontrolled nature of blogging it is hard to define what ethics stand when writing a post. Three key factors which bloggers ought to follow are, Be accountable, remain neutral and be accurate.

    Being accountable means bloggers should attribute their sources with a link or mention. They should strive not to plagiarize and mention when a post or thought is influenced by another idea. If a mistake is made a blogger should own up to it and approach it tactfully this will show the blogger to be honest and neutral. Being neutral is another fundamental principle of blogging. It's kind of an ambiguous landscape to say "remain" neutral" in the world of blogging because blogging is usually thoughts, ideas, opinions however there is a way to tactfully discuss them. If one has an idea or a thought writing about it objectively is the best way to gain readership. Being accurate will go a long way with a bloggers credibility. Similar to a news source readers will want to come to your blog first if your information is known for being accurate.

  12. Bloggers should be accountable for information they gather and make sure links and sources are involved in the post they produce. Also it is a good idea to be sure and update or correct mistakes when needed. If you use a questionable source be sure and relay on page for your reader.

  13. • The Basic ethics for bloggers posting on ijnet had great insight on the tone of your blog. It talks about how if you make your blog more personalized and talk in first person more than likely your readers and followers will respond better. It also talks about how blogs, no matter which kind of blog it is, typically are less formal thus making it easier for a blogger to personalize its blogs.
    • Rebecca’s Pocket talked about staying truthful and honest about your posts. If you have an opinion about something, but don’t know it to be 100% accurate then say it is speculation, or just don’t post about it. You want to be viewed as a great source for reliable accurate information and not for false misleading information.
    • CYBERJOURNALIST.NET’s post on A Bloggers’ Cod of Ethics discussed ways to minimize harm to your followers and readers. You should always show compassion for people who might be affected about the sources and subjects of your blog. Show good character and class by avoiding crass statements and subjects.

  14. Accuracy- Make sure to post the facts. You want your reader to know the truth rather than some biased opinion.

    Post the sources- Not only do you want your reader to be able to form their own opinion, but also give credit to the original author.

    Play nice- I don't care if you're mad or disagree with someone. This does not give you the right to start writing a hate blog about them or treating them like crap through your blog.

  15. I think that the most important principle for ethical blogging is accountability.
    If you are going to post something online, then you should be prepared for everyone to see it. Bloggers should always think of others. If you are writing about something that might be offensive, think about it before you post. Who knows, maybe your future employer might see it.

    Second, I think bloggers should always post accurate information. If you post something that is incorrect, it could jeopardize your career. Posting false information could even set you up for a lawsuit, so it’s best to check your sources first.

    Lastly, just be fair and sensitive. As the old proverb goes, “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

  16. 1. Accountability - As bloggers it's easy to not adhere to the same code of ethics that journalists might be obligated to follow. Bloggers should hold the content they post online accountable if they want to be taken seriously and maintain a certain integrity.

    2. Accuracy - To me this is imperative in any form of writing. As a journalist, any misinformation immediately loses credibility. Bloggers should be held to the same set of standards when posting information as fact.

    3. Minimize Harm - Readers do not want to read about how stupid they are. Bloggers should be sensitive to this and not rant for the sake of ranting. Treat your readers with respect.

  17. Just like any other source of information, blogs need to make sure they're being accurate in what they're saying. It's essential to their credibility--if you're not being right in what you're saying, your audience isn't going to trust you, and you'll end up without an audience at all. That lends towards accountability-- just like accuracy, it plays with their credibility. When you're wrong, own up to it. Report that you've made a mistake, and you're going to be more credible to your audience. Likewise, don't purposefully report incorrect information just to hurt another blog/person/etc. That's going to destroy your credibility, too.