WSJ and blogger ethics

I enjoyed David Weinberger’s response to the Wall Street Journal’s flimsy attack on the integrity of certain bloggers for presuming to write about projects where they are acting as advisers. In the examples reviewed, the bloggers made a disclosure of their interest.

David gets the nuances, so perhaps I can indulge in a little oversimplification. (It’s all right, I’m just one of those dangerous bloggers who has the barefaced cheek to express his views without the sanction of a committee of licensed ethicisists).

Here’s how blogging works, as beautifully expressed last year by Adriana Cronin-Lucas, reported here by Suw Charman.

bias + transparency = credibility

I wonder if for some mainstream journalists there’s a risk that piety + pseudo-objectivity = same fate as dinosaurs?

Disclosure: I like David Weinberger but he’s never bought me so much as a cup of coffee. He has had curry with a friend of mine and I must confess, I don’t know who paid for that.

3 thoughts on “WSJ and blogger ethics

  1. Jack Yan

    Shows the WSJ’s paranoia and lack of trust in other people. I am getting tired of the guilt-first approach to mainstream media coverage of blogging. We all know they are threatened, and I’m willing to bet that the journalist was simply asked to dig up a story on the improprieties behind blogging. She couldn’t—or this was the best she could manage.

       Many times I have heard of assignments given by supposedly reputable publications that ask a journalist to draw a conclusion—or to hint strongly at one. Sad, but true. This may be one of them.

  2. Flemming

    Surely the formula is wrong.

    It should be

    bias * [times] transparency = credibility

    If not, a blog would have equal credibility if it was totally biased or totally transparent. Also if a blog was totally untransparent (transparency of 0) credibility would equal bias, which sounds strange that the more biased you are, the more credible you are (if you are totally untransparent)

    Replace the + with a * in the formula and it says “you can have a lot of credibility if you’re biased but you must be very transparent at the same time”. Makes more sense to me.

    Or am I missing something?

    (Thanks for a publishing a very interesting (and transparent) blog)


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