Thursday, November 15, 2007

Transparency is the Basis of Citizen Journalism

What skin do you have in the game? Bloggers consider transparency one of the guiding principles they live by. Citizen journalists, too, should follow this simple rule: Disclose, disclose, disclose. Reveal your motives, your background, your financial interests in writing about a subject.

While no one can plausibly argue with the idea that journalists need to disclose certain things, such as financial conflicts of interest, a reasonable question is how much we need to disclose. Should journalists of all kinds be expected to make their lives open books? How open?

Personal biases, even unconscious ones, affect the journalist as well. Example: An American from a middle-class background is brought up in with certain beliefs that many folks in other lands (and some in the United States) flatly reject. We need to be aware of the things we take for granted.
Another way to be transparent is how we present a story. We should link to source material as much as possible, bolstering what we tell people with close-to-the-ground facts and data.
Citizen Journalism

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