Attending Cybher, a recent event for women bloggers, was a revelation in many ways – not least how the event felt more like a ‘movement’ than a conference, a wonderful antidote to the hundreds of dry corporate events I’ve been to over the years.
I spoke on the ethics panel at the end of the day. Normally at this end of a conference many of the seats earlier filled with delegates would be empty, such is the temptation for many to bunk off early . But at Cybher the room was still very full, a demonstration of the passion many bloggers have for their craft.
During the session I made the point that journalists are often trained – either in college or on the job – on many aspects which relate to ethics. I went on to assert that it would be very useful for bloggers to have access to this kind of knowledge.
Someone in the audience challenged me, saying “that’s a bit rich,” referring obviously to recent examples of ethical abuses among the journalist community, most notably the hacking scandal.
It was a good challenge and prompted me to argue that while some journalists behave unethically, the majority do not and one must remember that it was journalists who unearthed the hacking scandal in the first place, just like it was journalists that unearthed the MPs expenses scandal. (See this related post by Ellen Arnison.)
In any case, I added, I was not suggesting that bloggers should behave just like journalists (it’s a separate point but also journalism can be quite formulaic which could stifle the creative freedom of blogging) however knowledge of some skills and knowledge associated with journalism could be very useful to bloggers and give them confidence to do an even better job of serving their audiences.
This is a subject I may return to in a little more detail.