Society of Amateur Bloggers?

I was just reading Paolo's site and I noticed a post from a few weeks ago that had a zillion comments. Greg Ritter left a post pointing at the Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics. This is very cool.

Every time I hear about how bloggers are journalists I want to scream. Bloggers might be akin to COLUMNISTS but not journalists. The next time I read someone say this, I'm going to suggest that they stop and read the list of ethics and compare them to their own practices. For example Dave edits his posts constantly - during the day - without saying so, which pisses a good number of people off because he's not making small editorial changes, but many times, he is changing his mind about something completely. That's totally human, but it's not totally fair to those who read his blog. And it's definitely not close to the rules of good journalism.

Personally, I think the simple solution is an archive. A simple link at the bottom of the posts that keep a record of the changes. It would be simple to do - Simpleface does it to make sure there's always a record of changes in case of malice. That way Dave can change his posts as he sees fit, but if he does a 180 on something, at least people can call him on it. I like Dave, but he's not particularly egoless... We all need checks and balances.

Since blogging is becoming so popular, I think there might be a need for a Society of Amateur Bloggers who abide by strict rules of conduct. (You're not professional in my mind unless you're being paid to blog, and then probably your a journalist anyways, so it doesn't matter. ;-) ). Taking the SPJs code of ethics and using it as a base wouldn't be a bad start.


P.S. Later... I got a little pushback on this post. I should say that the issue gets me riled moreso than Dave's thoughts. I don't remember any specific "rants" so my bad. Sorry Dave! I just edited that bit out. This whole issue is about more than just jerks like me telling Dave what he can and can't write on his weblog and how. The whole point is that these issues have come up in the journalism world 100 years ago, which is why they have lists of things you can and can't do. It's not about Dave's or any other bloggers ethics in general, it's about setting some guidelines that readers can rely on while reading your blog. Otherwise we're just heading into a world of "Yellow Blogging" where anyone writes whatever they want without thought of their words' effect on their readership. Weblogs are public after all, they're not private, right?

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