Saturday, July 14, 2007
We interviewed Nuri al-Maliki last night in the Iraqi Prime Minister's first interview since President Bush’s press conference of the progress in Iraq. I’m struggling with the ethics of documenting my personal observations. While I was part of the interview team my responsibilities were not those of news gathering, hence I feel as if I would be under-cutting the media organization that I work for by taking advantage of it’s exclusive opportunity to publish my own, independent thoughts.
I have a rule when it comes to ethics; if it feels wrong it is. I don’t know enough about the ethics of journalism to make a sound judgment, so I think it best just to keep my opinions to myself, at least for the time being.
Are bloggers journalists? Should they receive the same constitutional protections that traditional journalists have enjoyed? This is a debate that is raging in the blogsphere right now, and I haven’t quite resolved it for myself. I believe that low-level bloggers like myself document what they see for their own enjoyment, and are held to no ethical yardstick other than their own personal standards. Other bloggers, who have audiences in the tens of thousands, are de facto journalists and owe it to the people who read their work to adhere to some sort of defined ethical code.
It’s an interesting debate, and one, which the journalism and blogging communities will have to wrestle with. Until then, I think its best to listen to your little guiding voice and apply your own personal code of ethics.