Stephanie’s Fantabulous Blog

Old Ethics and New Media

Posted on: December 23, 2008

Should a different set of rules be set for blogs then for newspapers and magazines?

The old ethics still apply, but the Internet is posing new dilemmas and challenges.  There are reporters in chat rooms, ad links in editorials, advertorials, tracking information and habits shared by advertisers, and everyone is now a publisher creating credibility issues. 

The biggest problem is the blurred line between editorials and commercials.  Alliances are being created between worthy news sources and advertisers, which is a scary combination for consumers.  For example, the New York Times added a link to purchase the books they were reviewing at the bottom of the reviews.  This raised some eyebrows and caused some to begin to see the line being crossed by credible sources. 

Another great example comes from Fred Mann, the general manager of Philadelphia Online, “An advertiser asked us to create an interactive game based on the news of the day and put it at the top of our home page. To enter and win prizes, the user had to download some of their software. The revenue was attractive, but we decided we’d be selling our soul a little bit. So we told them they could run an ad, but we couldn’t dress up their promotion to look like content.”

Many think that the traditional values of journalism need to be kept.  There should be no compromise between real news and advertisements.  Unbiased news needs to be shared with visitors, especially online, and that may not be the case going forward.  The one thing that compromises ethics is money and that is what everyone is trying to create.    



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