Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We All Have Blogs, What's the Point?

Nick Rees

I have a blog. You most likely have a blog. We all have blogs. With all of those individual voices floating around the grand ole world wide web, what exactly is the point of journalism? If we can share whatever we wish with our desired audience, then why do individuals still worry themselves with reporting and the field of journalism as a whole?

Source: The Summa, a Wordpress blog
In the age of the blogger, the only things that separate paid journalists from those able to communicate their views over blogging formats like Wordpress or Blogger are the ethical standings a true journalist holds. In a recent article, Social Media Today further explores the importance of blogging and its importance to the technological age we inhabit.

As expected the ethical standings of one generation may not hold up in a more progressive generation. Fashion trends fade from parachute pants to skinny jeans, and the same remains true for ethical codes in the journalism field. With fear and awe we have zoomed into an era of non-existent privacy and easy access to personal information.

As the years have rolled past, people have become more comfortable sharing the most intimate details of their personal lives on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In this ethical minefield, journalists have had to reassess their core standings, but the following reflect the best of the old standards, with a dash of modernity. 

Truth Above All 

Source: IMDB
Unlucky for those of you without knowledge of the incredible film Moulin Rouge, but the term truth never fails to bring forth recollections of the bohemians’ dedication to truth, beauty and above all things love.

In many ways those three aspects apply to the field of journalism. No matter the era, truth will forever remain the core purpose behind a true journalist. The story isn’t worth reporting if the content is false, and the audience deserves the truth. No matter the cost down the line, many prominent journalists, including those involved with the Wikileaks scandal and those uncovering Watergate, understood that truth came before all else.

Truth is the testament by which a journalist or blogger guides himself. Without it, any published stories could be considered the ramblings of a bumbling fool.

Can you see through me?

I’m sure at this point, the term transparency has been shoved down the throat of every potential journalist to an extreme, but it’s necessity remains. In a world of background checks, hacking into one another’s Facebook and Twitter profiles and generally exposing liars, one must be able to see through the lies.

If there’s nothing to hide then why hide it?

In many aspects journalists protect their stories, leads, sources, etc., but might it be to the detriment of their story? The people of the digital age have been taught to question what they don’t fully comprehend. Be transparent!

Hook the Community

If a journalist hopes to intrigue anyone, he/she needs to find the niche or community most in need of this news. In an age of never-ending information, establishing a community hungry for the stories one churns out is crucial.

Create a community based on the above principles, but respect this community’s ethical code and react appropriately. If a stay-at-home mother can get her news from CNN or any national web syndicate, one must give her a reason to read the weekly newspaper delivered to her doorstep.

Source: moderncommonplacebook.com

Finally, in this age of too many online contributors, one must consider some “guidelines” for what truly defines a journalist. This 2012 ruling, as reported in an article by Forbes, might serve as an interesting point of validation for those involved in the field.

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