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ethic.jpgTwo of America’s leading newspapers have suspended staff-written blogs because of ethics violations. First, Ben Domenech left after outside bloggers uncovered numerous examples of plagiarism in his past work. And last week, the Los Angeles Times suspended Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Hiltzik after it discovered he’d posted comments under false identities on his and other blogs on the paper’s website.
The Times’ site says:

“That is a violation of The Times ethics guidelines, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves in dealing with the public.”

Says Columbia Journalism Review today:

Blogging might be a new medium and the rules, such as they are, are still being made up as we go along, but the rules of journalism are long-standing — and no reporter can claim ignorance.

It’s high time for a blogging code of ethics. Of course the issue isn’t black and white. There are situations where a blogger, like the Iranian bloggers who’ve been jailed for blogging, need to remain anonymous to protect their lives. But posting under assumed names, or plagarizing is never right or ethical.
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Blog Ethics: What Business Relationships Should Bloggers Disclose?
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