Blog Controversies

Published May 25, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

Anything new and different doesn’t take long to spur some sort of controversy and the weblog world has plenty of it. One of the hottest issues in the blogosphere is that of the citizen journalist. Professional journalists often take offense to the idea of someone else (a non-journalist – how dare they!) reporting about news and information (someone whom they feel is not a “professional”). Because the Read/Write Web now offers the ability to write on the web to anyone who can get Internet access, this opens up an alternative form of communication, and this means the citizen journalist might have the same power to persuade that was once limited to those with press credentials. This idea is threatening to many journalists who feel they should be the only ones with this power.  

Rebecca Blood reports on this in a posted entitled “Weblog Ethics:”Journalists — the people who actually report the news — are acutely aware of the potential for abuse that is inherent in their system, which relies on support from businesses and power brokers, each with an agenda to promote. Their ethical standards are designed to delineate the journalist’s responsibilities and provide a clear code of conduct that will ensure the integrity of the news.

Weblogs, produced by nonprofessionals, have no such code, and individual webloggers seem almost proud of their amateur status. “We don’t need no stinkin’ fact checkers” seems to be the prevailing attitude, as if inaccuracy were a virtue.(http://www.rebeccablood.net/handbook/excerpts/weblog_ethics.html)

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