Blogger Code of Ethics

Bloggers have debated what, if any, ethics the Weblog community should follow. Since not all bloggers are journalists and the Weblog form is more casual, they argue they shouldn’t be expected to follow the same ethics codes journalists follow. Responsible bloggers recognize that they are publishing words publicly and therefore, have certain ethical obligations to their readers, the people they write about, and society in general.

CyberJournalist.net has created an excellent model Bloggers’ Code of Ethics, by modifying the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for the Weblog world. These are just guidelines — and in the end it is up to individual bloggers to choose their own best practices. CyberJournalist.net follows this code and urges other Weblogs to adopt this one or similar practices.

Integrity is the cornerstone of credibility. Bloggers who adopt this code of principles and these standards of practice not only practice ethical publishing, but convey to their readers that they can be trusted.

A BLOGGERS’ CODE OF ETHICS

Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:

• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate — and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:

• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:

• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

I embrace the Bloggers’ Code of Ethics and endeavor to apply them in my own work.

37 Responses to Blogger Code of Ethics

  1. Shane says:

    Oh this is good. Would you mind if I posted this code of ethics on my blog as well? Don’t want you to think i’m copying you:)

  2. Christopher says:

    Shane,

    Have at it. The list grew out of trial and error on my part. I hope the list is useful.

  3. Brad says:

    You should really set up some sort of ring of bloggers who agree to follow this code. It’s fantastic, and I’m sure a lot of people would be very interested.

  4. Chris says:

    Thanks for this Christopher, I’m going to post something about it on my blog as well.
    -Chris

  5. Natbrorscar says:

    Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

    The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

    The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

    It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

  6. kid says:

    Hey I feel ya. I a brother from Cleveland , and you seem cool. I’m not a Obamaholic or a Hillary Hound. First things first , git the republiklans out. In Ohio J. Kenneth Whitewell(OK, his name is Blackwell) owns a “gansta rap” radio station. Did Michelle Malkin go after him.? For the purpose of disclosure I ‘m a hair stylist. When I was in school me and my transgendered friends went out. The people treated us like shit. Now I’m not gay , but gittin a corn beef sandwhich shouldnt be a political act. Every state in which Shrub won , they had that gay marriage bill on it. Now I’m sure that if Rat Robinson was left 40 million dollars by a gay person and he left it to the 700 club , gays would have more rights than ( damn, I can”t even think of a anology for that) ya”ll would be hook up.

  7. BookGirl says:

    Good idea for a page. I just started my blog but I wnt a good reputation. Those are great guidelines.

  8. Patty says:

    I’ve started a new blog about texas education and would also like to post these. thanks,

  9. puzatik says:

    Oh this is good.

  10. Steven says:

    I like these as well. It happens to be quite timely, too considering that there was a person who was recently outed as not being this man “Cooper”, but a woman. And she took most of the blog content from another female blogger. Boy did that create an uproar in the “circle of bloggers.” It also reminds you that the Internet world is not always 100% accurate. Love the blog.

  11. Pingback: Across The Aisle « Ben Davis

  12. seth1492 says:

    Big fan of the code of ethics… I like that you are up front about it too. Readers can expect it from you and keep you accountable. Thanks for trying to keep the blogging world respectable.

  13. STACY KINNARD says:

    GOT DAM THATS A FINE ASS MF!!!!
    holla at ur girl daddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Hello there,
    Yes, thank you for posting this, I too would like to link to it from my blogs if you would agree.
    Best
    Frances Laing

  15. Frances,

    Please feel free. Thanks for the note.

  16. I would like to post it on my blog as well. And I agree with Brad – there should be some kind of group or “ethical bloggers guild” so to speak. I would like to see this piece of standards and practices gain more traction.

  17. hoboduke says:

    Read the code of ethics with great interest. Is it applied on posts here of pandering to lurid curiosity? I don’t pretend to be a journalist, because I aspire to higher ethical standards as a member of the hobo party.

  18. Joe says:

    Christopher,
    Hey big guy, I never hear from you anymore. You never write, never comment, never call. What happened???? Why the change???? Oh how I miss the days when you loved me. I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me, used to hate to leave me. Now, nothing….
    You know Chris, I’ll wait for you a little longer, but time’s running out here. … I’m not going to hang out here forever you know..

  19. rant says:

    I was happy to read that you have a code of ethics section. I think it is great add on, it makes your posts much more credible.

  20. Horel says:

    Hey I feel ya. I a brother from Cleveland , and you seem cool. I’m not a Obamaholic or a Hillary Hound. First things first , git the republiklans out. In Ohio J. Kenneth Whitewell(OK, his name is Blackwell) owns a “gansta rap” radio station. Did Michelle Malkin go after him.? For the purpose of disclosure I ‘m a hair stylist. When I was in school me and my transgendered friends went out. The people treated us like shit. Now I’m not gay , but gittin a corn beef sandwhich shouldnt be a political act. Every state in which Shrub won , they had that gay marriage bill on it. Now I’m sure that if Rat Robinson was left 40 million dollars by a gay person and he left it to the 700 club , gays would have more rights than ( damn, I can”t even think of a anology for that) ya”ll would be hook up.
    +1

  21. bill d says:

    Hey Christopher – did you disappear from FB or did you block me for some reason? I can’t find you at all. I’ve missed you there. Hope I didn’t offend you/piss you off.

  22. bill d,

    Not at all, Bill.

    I canceled my FB account over privacy concerns and issues I have with the site refusing to police hate groups like Storm Front and Aryan Nation.

    My junk email dropped from 400 a day to less than 10!

  23. Zach D. says:

    Hey, where’s the DATE on this post and the DATE for the comments. The comments have times only and no date. This post has no date.

    I think that’s ambiguous and leads to inaccuracy by omission.

    I think this breaks one of your “guidelines.”

    This is why editors are still relevant in the age of a continuous deadline and unlimited outlets for content.

    Things were so much simpler (and better?) when there was a hard deadline for newspapaper, television or radio; you would literally have an editor between you and your final product. Self-editing does not work; the Internet proves that nonstop.

  24. Sophie says:

    HI,
    I came across your site while doing research for a project I’m working on for LOGO on behalf of JSM Casting to find healthy, active & charismatic HIV+ male athletes to star in an upcoming PSA series to coincide with World AIDS Day. We’re currently doing research to find organizations and groups to help spread the word by posting the info on blogs and websites and other social media outlets and by doing email blasts.

    It’s a really special and important project, and we hope to find people who are passionate about their sport and show us how HIV has not held them back.

    Do you think you might consider doing an email blast to your members or posting the info on your site or blog? Please email me for the specific details.

    Thanks so much in advance for your time and consideration and feel free to call me to discuss if you have any questions.

  25. Jay says:

    I am preparing to add a link to this Code of Ethics page on my own blog. Thank you.

    Regards,
    Jay DeKing
    Writer, editor and sole proprietor of the Council of Lemurs

  26. Pingback: Responsible blogging, and a lack thereof | Sayen CroWolf

  27. Yelpkkdv says:

    marvel watches,

  28. ALICE CONNALLY FISK says:

    THE FIRST AND SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTIONS

    (Score: Battle Hymn of the Republic)

    THE FIRST AMERICAN REVOLUTION

    In Revolution No. 1 we fought the Bloody Brits.

    Georgie taxed us up the tookis and gave not two kingly sh*ts.

    He had to keep the Queen in jewels and feed the royal twits.

    The fight for justice dawned…

    The Bluebloods in America upheld the thieving Crown.

    His Majesty sent Redcoats o’er to keep the peasants down.

    Deep unrest in the colony evoked a royal frown.

    The fight for justice sped…

    Enough’s enough our forebears said, of that they had no doubt.

    Their audacious rebel spirit sparked the necessary clout —

    our pissed-off people rose as one … and kicked the bandits OUT

    And justice then prevailed.

    Chorus: Glory, glory, Alleluia! Glory, glory, Alleluia!

    Glory, glory, Alleluia! Folks mobilized and Won.

    THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION

    In Revolution No. 2, Big Business is The King

    with power absolute through politicians on a string.

    To their Empire, known as Congress, corporate lobbyists all bring

    Campaign donations huge…

    Countless millions get the royal shaft from Industry so big —

    minor wages, zero health care, part-time, temps, the downsize gig,

    layoffs, furloughs — yet, a Congress jumping to the corporate jig.

    The fight for justice dawns…

    Untold millions have NO health care nor a LIVING wage to boot.

    Insolvent grow our working poor while the rich take all the loot.

    When government’s don’t listen, insurrectionists recruit.

    The fight for justice moves…

    March united, risen people as our rebels rose before.

    Let corporate Kings, by peasant sweat, give royal shafts no more.

    OFF our knees, empowered, dauntless, all oppressors hear us roar —

    We’ll Mobilize and WIN!

    Repeat Chorus

    © 1996, Alice Connally Fisk

    Permission granted to leaflet, set to music, sing!!

    “No Revolutionary Movement is complete without its poetical expression.

    If such a movement has caught hold of the imagination of the masses, they will seek a vent in song for the aspirations, the fears and hopes, the loves and hatreds engendered by the struggle.

    Until the movement is marked by joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement; it is a dogma of a few, and not the faith of the multitude.” — James Connolly, Irish Labor Leader and Working Class Hero

    Email: AFisk10302@aol.com Alice Connally Fisk, 11 Pineview Place, Melrose, NY 12121 (ASCAP member)

  29. Toots, got a Q4U, I can’t find your email addy (it’s me, KatieSchwartz.com) and I’m trying to email you to see if you want to participate in this kick ass mini/poli satire I’m doing. Email me? katiegirl(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Please feel free to delete after receipt of this comment, I just couldn’t find your e-addy.

    Katie

  30. Bravo. May I reblog this?

    Regards,
    Vivien Marie
    The Saliva at Spit Or Swallow

  31. Hm! Really good post… Can I translate it?

  32. Niggabetrippin says:

    I didn’t even read it

  33. Hi,
    Can I also put this on my blog. I’m just starting it, but I think this is a great code to go by.

  34. Pingback: Blogger Code of Ethics | Overcast!

  35. Thank you so much for this great article. I actually have personal consideration about posting something in my blog. But what I consider generally almost same as those guidelines above. So, it doesn’t problem for me to apply the ethical codes of blogger that Cyberjournalist.net say.

    may I copy this to my blog?

  36. zacslade says:

    Neat-o. When I first saw this, I thought “Bloggers shouldn’t have a code of ethics! Who do you think you are!?”, but after reading it… I have to say: I totally agree.

  37. Good to see the ethics section! Keep up the great work for us on the Left!

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