Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blogger Ethics

Mark Cuban, the oft outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, wrote a post today stating that he gave an interview for a journalist to put in a magazine, but that journalist, who has a second life as a sports blogger decided to turn that around and write a blog post about it as well.

The question he raised is one of ethics. Was it right for the blogger in question (in this case, a certain Will Leitch) to basically obtain an interview with a prominent figure under false pretenses? The post he wrote was not by any means laudatory, and maybe that's why Cuban had a problem with it, but nevertheless, he agreed to an interview with GQ, not with Valleywag (the sister site of DeadSpin).

A point to be made here is that if there is one thing that bloggers are not, it's journalists. This is the information age and bloggers are capable about opining about basically everything that the national media conglomerates wouldn't touch. We are the heralded party here, especially within our little circle. That does not mean however, that we do not have rules.

McD made a post yesterday about morals: how bloggers have them and journalists often do not. While Leitch's post may not have necessarily been a personal attack on Cuban, which is what McD was speaking out against, but it does show a certain lack of integrity.

If there's one thing that all of us bloggers can come together about is that we want mainstream media to take us more seriously. It hurts when Stephen A. Smith says that bloggers shouldn't be allowed an audience, because we, as writers, know how much time and effort is spent on making our respective sites as reputable as possible. As of right now, we are definitely gaining ground with more and more sponsored sites (ESPN's Truehoop and AOL Fanhouse come to mind) popping up. If that's ever going to happen entirely, we need to change the image of the prototypical blogger (loser in his parent's basement), and swindling an interview is not how to go about doing that.


J-Red said...

The ethics of a blogger are to post/print/publish only that which you believe to be true, and add your own analysis to those purportedly correct facts.

We may speculate, hypothesize, fantasize and/or visualize the facts, but our starting point must be in reported or known fact.

If you speak to a MSM reporter, and what you say is then published to the world, it's your problem.

If you speak to a blogger, and what you say is then published to the world, it's your problem.

If you speak to a reporter who also operates a blog, you had better specify what goes where.

No Blood No Foul said...

First of all, Stephen A Smith is a moron. Every time I hear that name...

Anyways. Bloggers are ABSOLUTELY journalists. Just because we don't have the resources of mass market media, that doesn't detract from our mission: stimulate dialog and increase awareness.

Having said that, some bloggers have been known to embellish/make-up their posts in order to get attention. That practice is highly unethical. Of course, mass market media does that too...

As for the question about Leitch misrepresenting himself, it seems that the bulk of the interview was left out of the blog post (I'm sure Cuban answered more than just one question). So GQ gets the full interview, and the journalist gets to use his own work to advance his career at Valleywag.

No problems here that I can see.