Should Codes of Ethics Apply to Online Blogging?

Should Codes of Ethics Apply to Online Blogging?

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An ongoing debate among journalists and bloggers alike continues to bring the issue of ethics into the picture. While the majority of journalists feel that ethical guidelines should apply to all writing, many others feel that the personal, first-person nature of blogs and their intended creation lends itself to a more casual, less professional voice. Due to the creative, personal nature of blogging, many writers feel this grants bloggers the license to speak their mind – outside the constraints of professional journalism.

Although the parameters of writing cover a broad spectrum, where do ethics come into play? Is there any form of writing that is considered part of an arena in which ethical guidelines don’t apply?

It is generally agreed upon that there are varieties of published writing and that there is a span of ethics that covers most forms. Ethical issues such as libel, slander and plagiarism are universally harmful to all journalists; however, do bloggers commit these acts more often than professional journalists? How do we develop a universal standard for ethics when there are so many varied media outlets? And more importantly, how do we begin to penalize writers, journalists and reporters through their different mediums?

What are your thoughts?