Do you get your online news from blogs? Do you find the info you want in the post itself or in the links to “credible” news sources?

When I’m scouring the web for news, and I find something interesting on a blog, I tend to click on the hyperlinks leading me to more information. The link the news came from originally is where I go to find the facts. I see blogs as a piece of the social media puzzle where individuals can freely post their opinions on any subject they want (kind of like I’m doing right now!). From there, readers can comment and the discussion can grow.

ethics-real-fork-in-road_02Recently in my Online PR class we discussed the issue of blogging ethics and the fact that bloggers aren’t held to the same standard of ethics as journalists.

We were shown a YouTube posting of Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds of the Future who says, “many people now do journalism on blogs. Some of it is very educational and important stories have been broken.”

Gardner goes on to mention a study he conducted on Matt Drudge. He found out from Drudge that only 50-70 per cent of what he reports on, are facts. Gardner says a newspaper like The New York Times would aim to report with 100 per cent accuracy. Admittedly this is not something one can live up to. When the Times makes a mistake, they correct it, he says.

Journalists are held to a code of ethics

Having gone to journalism school, It’s been drilled into my head to be as accurate about facts as possible, and don’t editorialize. I know papers have their own slant on issues, but for the most part, each side of the argument gets a chance to speak and the facts are just that — facts! The journalist is also held to a code of ethics. They’re specialists after all, having gone to school for it.

Bloggers need to let their readers know from the outset that the content is their opinion, or the content is backed by facts (although without any kind of journalistic training, the question of credibility still comes up). With the world of journalism quickly moving online, it’s important for readers to know their stories are coming from credible sources, and not from “Joe the Blogger” claiming to have an unbiased approach.

Do you take a blogger’s word even if they have links supporting their post? Or do you probe to find out more? And can the same be said for journalists (just to be fair and unbiased)?