AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Bloggers are a rough-and-tumble lot. They are the publishing cowboys of the media frontier. And like the untamed West, the blogosphere is full of mavericks who fail to think before they write.
Even worse is that some of these cowboys refuse to adhere to a set of ethical rules.
But this could change, as many notable bloggers push for a code ethics. Like town pastors, these bloggers are preaching the virtue and benefit of being honest, truthful and transparent with readers.
Unfortunately, this approach doesn't seem to sit well with a largely nonprofessional lot that began writing as a means to vent dissatisfaction with traditional media.
"Codes are good in articulating the principles that guide us, principles that give us moral compass and moral gyroscope for our behavior," said Bob Steele, director of the Poynter Institute's ethics program. "Professional codes set the boundaries, but they are not the end all, be all."
Steele co-authored the paper "Earn your own trust, roll your own ethics: Transparency and beyond" with Bill Mitchell, Poynter director of publishing and online editor. The two created the piece for a blogging conference at Harvard. Steele said bloggers and journalists share a common aim with ethics--credibility with their audiences. He said a blogger's credibility is built on a number of ethical values, which can be shaped by the individual blogger.
"This forces us to grapple in the gray area, rather than accept absolutes," Steele said.