Blogging ethics

Seth Godin discusses how blogging shades into journalism and asks

Now everyone with a blog is a journalist. When you run a post accusing a politician of having no personality for example, you’re indulging the public’s desire to elect a dinner partner, not a president. When you chime in on the day’s talking points, you’re a tool, not a new voice.

So, we come to the moment of truth. Now that anyone who wants to be a journalist CAN be a journalist, are the ethics going to get better… or worse?

It’s an interesting question, and I think we need to see how old-stryle journalism and new-style blogging differ. In the era of conventional journalism, only a minority could practise the art. So the importance of them being accurate and fair was high. When there are millions of journalists, all interconnected by trackbacks and comments, then what they say can be tested and challenged immediately.

So there is perhaps more potential for a more communal form of ethics. For that, transparency (anyone can read and comment on your stuff) becomes the key. What’s good about this is that it is not dependent on identifying absolute truth and trying to legislate for fairness, always a struggle for mainstream media. The focus instead is on the openness of the debate.

On which note, it would be very nice if Seth added comments to his blog. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Blogging ethics

  1. Tim

    Yes blogging has turned mainstream journalism on its head. Now, stories can be checked more or less instantly, the truth (or another truth)is now more accessible than ever before.

    But think about comments differently. In a way Seth does have them – they’re called trackbacks. People are making comments (like you are now) on his stuff but on their own blogs. Seth gets to read them all anyway and he doen’t have the issue of spam to deal with anyway.

    Openness and transparency exist whether comments are enabled or not.


    Ethics and Responsibility in Blogging

    Seth Godin asks a pertinent question about blogging ethics: So, we come to the moment of truth. Now that anyone who wants to be a journalist CAN be a journalist, are the ethics going to get better… or worse?Seth, it’s…

  3. Rich...!

    While I wish there were comments on every blog, I can imagine that they would be a problem on Seth’s. Everyone would be trying to be the first commenter, and there would be so much:

    “great post seth”, you’re the best seth” that you would struggle to find valuable content. People would simply use his blog to drive traffic to their site, and while this is not a bad thing as such, it would get fairly tedious.

    Great post though 😉 …!

  4. "Hello_World"

    The new water-cooler

    I was reading Johnnie Moore’s take on a recent post by Seth Godin on blogging as journalism. While I in principle agree with most of what he says here, I query one key-point. When there are millions of journalists, all

  5. seth godin

    Actually, a few people would bend over backwards to say things that would give me a headache and make me want to post something in response and then it would go on and on and on. When I had comments, within two days I stopped posting because I hated imagining what the trolls would do.

    When the trolls leave the room, I’d be delighted to put the comments back on!


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