Does providing information on the Internet involve ethics?
Probably not. And how would this work, anyway? Who is going to be the judge and who will set and monitor the standards? And then, when the rules are broken, what will be done and who is going to do it?
But should an individual’s actions on a blog be ethical?
I think so. Does this view contradict my first statement? I think not.
Every individual has some sort of value system. Usually, we incorporate our values into the things that we do. This seems to be especially so when the outcome or end product is not for any financial benefit. Few people lie for the hell of it, but many people would lie if it would result in some sort of benefit for them. Some people see nothing wrong in the use of foul language, twisting the truth or the presentation of fiction as fact. Others set themselves higher standards, and so on.
Trying to sort out lies from truth and fact from fiction, is not so easy. Often, we take reputation as the deciding factor. We believe what we read in the Financial Times because our belief is based on past history and the newspaper’s reputation. The FT always writes only the truth, don’t they. But even that cannot be guaranteed. The Media is an interesting case. We often forget that they are not the source but only the messenger. The old IT phrase “garbage in, garbage out” comes to mind here.
This brings me to the point that I wish to make.
Journalism (in its purest sense) and blogging….does one form have any advantages over the other?
Absolutely! Once a journalist has written a story, it’s checked, edited and published. A week later, when the writer discovers that one of the sources was completely wrong, nothing can be done. Yes, I know newspapers and magazines publish retractions and corrections from time to time, but they are usually tucked away somewhere obscure where not many people would see them. So that’s it, the story in its original form is out there and that is the way it stays.
Blogging, on the other hand, is different. Well at least my blog is. And I believe others should be as well.
Now you are just laughing at me and pointing out that while a newspaper may have millions of readers, my blog has only two and one of them is myself. Who cares if Peter Smith writes a load of old nonsense on his blog? Peter does….that is what is called ethics.
From time to time, errors creep in to stories, by mistake. New information comes to light a day or so after publishing the story. A re-read brings to light grammatical and spelling mistakes. And so on. These are errors of fact. The standard of ethics that I maintain on my blog, which is something in the public domain, demands that errors of fact must be corrected.
Errors of opinion are, in contrast, completely different. They must stay as presented, when presented as the milestones of the progress of the story’s theme.
And so dear reader, please do not despair. When you read one of my articles a second time, maybe a day or so later, and you wonder why you recall some of the content to have been different, it is not you that is going nuts! The problem was me…….I made a mistake and then I corrected it.