‘New York Times’ Columnist Hits Blogger Ethics

By: E&P Staff

In a column sure to spark blowback in the blogosphere, The New York Times? Adam Cohen produced a critique of online ethics that ran in prime position on the paper?s editorial page on Sunday. The deck said it all: ?Should bloggers practice what they preach??

Among Cohen?s charges:

?Bloggers like to demonize the MSM (that’s Mainstream Media), but it is increasingly hard to think of the largest news blogs as being outside the mainstream.?

?Some insist that they do not need journalistic ethics because they are not journalists, but rather activists, or humorists, or something else entirely. But more bloggers, and blog readers, are starting to ask whether at least the most prominent blogs with the highest traffic shouldn’t hold themselves to the same high standards to which they hold other media.?

?Many bloggers make little effort to check their information, and think nothing of posting a personal attack without calling the target first – or calling the target at all. They rarely have procedures for running a correction. The wall between their editorial content and advertising is often nonexistent? And bloggers rarely disclose whether they are receiving money from the people or causes they write about.?

?Bloggers may need to institutionalize ethics policies to avoid charges of hypocrisy. But the real reason for an ethical upgrade is that it is the right way to do journalism, online or offline. As blogs grow in readers and influence, bloggers should realize that if they want to reform the American media, that is going to have to include reforming themselves.?

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