i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Writing / Weblogging Ethics

October 19, 2004

It seems to me like the internet is doing a great job of blurring the lines distinguishing between different styles of writing. Creative writing has to be written in a down-to-earth manner if you want anyone to bother reading it – the highbrow (hoity-toity) holier than thou attitude just doesn’t cut it these days.

Journalist writing, at least on the internet on non-corporate sites, has to have a strong voice infused with no small amount of personality. The writing has to be clear and concise, yes, but it has to be interesting or no one is going to bother wasting their time.

Just as musical styles are blending (think rhythm and blues punched with rock beats, rock beats combined with sitar rhythms, classical music transformed into dance beats), writing styles are being transformed. The savvy writer, I believe, will be the one best able to harness the changing voice of writing today.

The journalist who occasionally waxes poetic, the fiction writer who researches historical events to use in his piece, the writer who chooses not to focus on a specific genre instead choosing to dabble a little bit here and little bit there, experimenting and growing as a writer, these are the writers who I suspect will ultimately succeed in today’s writing world.

Regardless, there is a certain code of ethics that all writers should at least consider following online. Rebecca Blood, of Rebecca’s Pocket, author of The Weblog Handbook, offers six pointers for webloggers who wish to present themselves as professional journalists. I think these are useful pointers for any weblogger who wishes to be ethical and factual on the internet.

Blood's 6 pointers for professional & courteous webloggers:

By following these six rules mentioned in Blood's "The Weblog Handbook" you will be able to build a reputation for yourself as a reasonable, well-educated, and truthful weblogger. You will gain integrity and respect in the internet community. Somewhere along the way, you will start to gather a faithful crowd of readers. Enjoy it!

Moira at 06:21 PM :: Comments (3) :: ::

just to clarify, my weblog ethics are intended for people who do *not* consider themselves to be journalists, but who want to ensure their own integrity and to earn the respect of their readers.

regarding bloggers who consider themselves to be journalists, I say:

"Any weblogger who expects to be accorded the privileges and protections of a professional journalist will need to go further than these principles. Rights have associated responsibilities; in the end it is an individual's professionalism and meticulous observance of recognized ethical standards that determines her status in the eyes of society and the law. For the rest of us, I believe the following standards are sufficient."

in other words, these principles aren't equivalent to journalistic standards; they are standards I believe to be sufficientand appropriate to the very different activity of blogging.

Posted by: rebecca blood at October 20, 2004 12:19 PM

Thanks for the comment, Rebecca! Thanks for making a good point and pointing out something that I should have made clear in my entry.

I have to say - it's a good think I read the part in your book where you recommend clicking through your links so that sites you admire will know you were there! ;c) Awesome!

Posted by: moira at October 20, 2004 06:28 PM

WOW, Moira. Such wonderful traffic you have accumulated. :-D

Posted by: Amanda at October 21, 2004 12:12 AM
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