"Bloggers don't have our ethics"

Interesting item on BBC Radio 4 last night called New Kids on the Blog (geddit!?) – about the rise of citizen journalism in the US and how the political bloggers in particular are becoming more influential.
The main argument of the programme is that the public is becoming increasingly disillusioned by traditional media as the main thrust of most “news media” is led by an adversarial approach.
This involves a tough interview with a key anchor man or simply putting two people together in the same room with contrary views and lighting the blue touch paper. And I do have some sympathy with this view. Operating in public relations and reading the newspapers as an occupational hazard news is increasingly a mean now to express an opinion – particularly in the field of political journalism.
Indeed, some newspapers like the Daily Mail have a agenda on virtually every story they do.
But one of the key issues that the “traditional journalists” – including Dan Rather – raised was the issue of truth and ethics echoing an earlier rant but the former “Dean of the White House Press Corps” Helen Thomas, who claims that “bloggers and everyone…with a laptop thinks they’re journalists…They don’t have our ethics.”
Given that journalism never established itself as a true profession with a governing body, licensing procedure, or an official code of ethics, it’s fair to ask what exactly are the ethics that journalists practice that the rest of us don’t? FULL DISCLOSURE: I was a journalist for many years.
Thomas is wrong. Most bloggers do adopt an ethical stance I found – mainly because if you diss the readership you are going to create a shit storm. At the most basic level bloggers are ethical because they are nice, decent human beings.
And if they do transgress they are quick to admit it, correct, and apologise for errors immediately and publicly.
Now when did a newspaper last do that?

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