On Blogging and Transparency

Blogging from Chicago …

In continuing his quest to unravel the mystery of bloggers, liberal Rocky Mountain News columnist Jason Salzman writes:

Most bloggers, like most people who write on paper, aren’t journalists. So their work shouldn’t be held to the same journalistic standards that Denver’s daily newspapers should meet – standards such as basic fairness, accountability, independence and others, as articulated, for example, by the Society of Professional Journalists.

But whether bloggers think they are practicing journalism or not, their blogs should inform people about the information they’re getting.

Who’s behind the blog? What’s the purpose? Does the blogger have a political bias? Is the blogger trying to practice journalism? If so, what are his or her standards?

If the blog is anonymous or allows anonymous postings, it should explain why anonymity is allowed.

Bloggers who provide this information are doing us all a favor because it could help some people evaluate the different types of information they consume. It could help some people understand what journalism is.

I made this argument to Jason Bane, a founder of the left-leaning Colorado Pols blog, and asked why Pols doesn’t have an “About Us” section.

He emailed me that the site used to have such a thing and should probably add one. Similarly, Ben DeGrow of right-leaning Bendegrow.com told me it hadn’t occurred to him to include an explanation of who he is and what he’s doing. After our conversation, DeGrow added this information. [emphasis added]

Yes, it’s true. A couple weeks ago, I introduced the page explaining who I am and what the blog is about. And I thank Mr. Salzman for raising the idea.

But for the sake of clarity, it has long been the policy of this blog to be transparent. Heck, the domain name alone tells you who I am. A quick Google search of my name will introduce you to who I am and what I write about. I frequently allude to many of my affiliations in the course of my writing, but it had never occurred to me to create a separate page until Salzman’s conversation. To continue and enhance the transparency of this website, I decided it could not hurt to add the extra page. So I did.

Mr. Salzman’s concern about the transparency of bloggers is admirable and appropriate. But how many Old Media columnists have separate pages that publicly disclose where they are coming from in the level of detail I have added – if at all? A fair question.

Comments

  1. says

    Coming from the MSM–where editorials are unsigned, wire stories often unbylined, and even named writers obscure, it seems awfully arrogant to demand “full disclosure” from bloggers.

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