5 Simple Rules For Practicing Good Journalism While Blogging

You may remember that on Friday I talked about linkbaiting, and how I found that to be journalistically reprehensible.

I am very much a stickler for at least sticking to the hard and fast rules of old school journalism in an age where that old school journalistic ethic of a Walter Cronkite is very rare indeed.

So, since blogging is the future of journalism, here’s five simple rules to practice good journalism while blogging.  Much as people hate list posts such as this, I find it to make my job somewhat easier if I have to make a list post once a week or so.

  1. Check Your Sources.  Bloggers often do not factcheck whatsoever (and yes, I admit to being guilty of that from time to time).  Once in a while forgetting to factcheck is fine, but bloggers who don’t factcheck all the time (*cough* Gizmodo *cough*) are reprehensible in my eyes.  Heck, journalistic outfits who don’t check their facts that often and have to post “corrections” because of that (*cough* Consumer Reports & New York Times *cough*) are just as reprehensible, if not more so.
  2. Know Of Which You Speak.  Please, don’t talk about ANY new hot consumer product or other similar device if you don’t have one in your possession.  Going hands-on with a product and talking about those hands-on experiences are so, so much better than just blathering on about a product.  I have made it a point to not talk about the iPad at all except when I’m mentioning what platforms a product works on that I mention.  Why?  Because I don’t have one, that’s why.  I don’t believe in talking about things without getting your hands dirty on those products.
  3. Speak Honestly To Your Readers.  I also don’t believe in quid pro quod (meaning “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”), which is a nice sophisticated way of saying that someone’s reviews were bought by whoever sent them that product.  I have made it a personal policy of mine not to plug or even so much as mention a product if I don’t absolutely love it.  It makes the recommendations I make that much more special, and really puts the onus on the product purveyor to really impress me with how their product works.
  4. Don’t Post Regularly If You Can’t Be Certain Of The Rightness Of Your Facts.  This one is one I’ve been practicing more recently.  Posting regularly is great if you want to be like any number of other blogs out there, but if you can’t be certain that your facts are absolutely correct, then don’t post them!  I’ve seen so many blogs that break this rule, and then have to post “corrections”, and really, I’ve way, WAY more than had enough.
  5. Have fun!  Yes, I know this is supposed to be a rule for whatever you’re doing in the blogosphere, but so many people just burn out for whatever reason, and blogging is supposed to be fun, and not something that you get tired of and burn out on after a while.
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