It has been suggested that bloggers should impose upon themselves a code of ethics. I attempt to do so here. This blog owner admits to leaning left, but willingly subcribes to the use of a code of ethics whenever a thought becomes a written word.
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ethicaLeft Blogging Code Of Ethics:
NOTE: This is taken from the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics. It is altered slightly for the following reasons: (1) to allow for the medium used by bloggers. (2) to recognize those areas of established ethics codes not fully followed by the main-stream media but followed by this blog.
NOTE: Any alterations to the society of Professional Journalists code of ethics will be noted in blue type
Ethics:Journalists should :Be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing. (It should be noted that subjects will likely not avail themselves for comment to a blogger. An attempt to secure comment from a subject will always be made)
Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context. (It is important to note that in the age of sound bites, the main-stream media does not always comply with this particular dictate of the code of journalistic ethics. This blog will strive to do so)
Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
Never plagiarize. (This blog owner is a writer of her own word. There will be many articles that include quotes, other reporting or information from other media. These will always be quoted properly and include a link to the full text)
Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so. Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context. Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. (This blog will act as a medium for both news, commentary and opinion. Each article will be labeled as such. This will never be unclear on this blog.)
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.Journalists should:
Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. 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 the news 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 or victims of sex crimes.
Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.
Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. (This blog, or it's owner has no such relationships)
Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage. (This blog will not feature paid advertisements of any kind)
Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.
Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media. (This blog and it's owner will always encourage this)
Admit mistakes and correct them promptly. (Please see retraction policy)
Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media. Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others. (This blog and its owner will strive to hold to the highest standard and will freely discuss and expose unethical practices of any media)
ADDED FOR THIS BLOG ONLY1. This blog / owner / author does not reveal her full name only for the purpose of internet anonymity. Personal safety dictates this. A valid email address is given for any comments, clarification, complaints, requests for re-publication, or general inquiries. A prompt reply will be offered to all of the above. Flames, spam or inappropriate requests will not be answered. 2. Each article will be sub-titled either "NEWS", "COMMENTARY", OR "EDITORIAL" - "OP-ED".
Seems to me that Michael Smith fails on most of those requirements.