Mark Glaser at PBS MediaShift asks if the blogosphere will somehow be "improved" by these professional news hounds and their assumed "high standards". When I get done laughing my guts out, I'll share with you how I responded.
"Should Bloggers Disclose Conflicting Interests?"
With so many journalists now blogging — thanks to so many mainstream media websites adding journalist blogs — the question is whether this new wave of bloggers will bring a different ethos to blogging.
Say what you will about mainstream media’s various foibles and biases, but professional journalists often keep the interest of their readers — instead of their own self-interests — paramount.
The journalist’s code of ethics requires that a reporter should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” But in the blogosphere, the rules are a bit fuzzier. Silicon Valley insider and TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington recently reacted to the lastest charge of his conflicts of interest like this:
TechCrunch is all about insider information and conflicts of interest. The only way I get access to the information I do is because these entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are my friends. I genuinely like these people and want them to succeed, and they know it and therefore trust me more than they trust traditional press.
So what do you think about this stance and others by bloggers who feel that they can give honest commentary even though they have conflicts of interest? Will bloggers lose credibility by having these conflicts, or will disclosures help keep everything transparent? Is there something bloggers like Arrington can do to minimize conflicts?
Transparency is only the prelude, and disclosure can be faked. For example, who cares if a PayPerPoster declares that they're paid to promote (or attack) something?
What matters is the agenda, whether hidden or confessed. We do not wish to hear from paid enthusiasts or hired flamers. We want to hear from unincentivized, uncoached, unrehearsed, unscripted users who have no axe to grind and no butts to kiss. True word of mouth buzz in the blogosphere is based on this peer-to-peer recommendation system.
In online journalism, we expect the same lack of bias and good breeding. Plus, the ability to post comments in a thread directly connected to the articles, and not shoved aside to some forum space where few readers venture.
This is the global democracy revolution: from now on, everyone is on a level communications playing field. Political, governmental, religious, family, commercial, and other domination systems give way to the voice of the individual.
Journalism is not known for universal high ethics, but they used to be good at keeping the interest and loyal readership of an audience. That has now changed.
I don't think the question is: "How will the blogosphere benefit from professional mainstream journalists?"
The question is: "How will the blogosphere continue to destroy the very fabric and foundation of mainstream journalism?"
And: "How do we keep the creepy agendas and bias of mainstream journalism OUT of the beloved blogosphere?"
As far as TechCrunch, and other bloggers who are suspected of dubious or detrimental policies, we have our ways of dealing with such things in the blogosphere.
Influencers and friends of influencers can cause rapid avalanches when necessary.
Basically, we want most [that is, the corrupt, arrogant, and greedy] businesses and journalists to stay out of the blogosphere. We don't need or want them.
By steven e. streight aka vaspers the grate 10:23AM on 18 Nov 06