I’m here at the blogworld & new media expo and just participated in the breakout session on blogging ethics. There was some lively conversation between panel members and audience members about experiences and thoughts on the ethics field for bloggers, mostly asking questions and not answering them.
Should bloggers align with journalists and the standards they (are supposed to) adhere to in order to gain the reputation that journalists have in the media and news realm? I think it can be a slippery slope in trying to answer questions like this one definitely for bloggers because the sphere covers such dynamic areas and niches that can’t be grouped together.
One of the greatest features of blogs is the ability for citizens to be journalists, organizations to have a voice, and people interested in similar things to connect. Blogging has opened up the communications avenues for nonprofits, especially small grassroots organizations, to garner supporters that are outside of the physical service area or who can help the organization grow and succeed who may have never found the group.
All right, so let’s really get to the nonprofit issue here: what standards should nonprofits have when using new media tools, like blogs?
Many nonprofits have the self-identified standard of working for the good and not for the man. The answer to the standards/ethics questions is pretty much summed up in that. Nonprofits, in blog posts, videos, and social networking profiles should always keep the community they are serving in mind. Is that community proud to be served by your organization by the way it is represented online? Are the issues you raise in posts, news you write about, and stories you relate to the world at large representative of the mission of the community and the community served (and often featured in that material)?
When creating your new media plan for your nonprofit organization, answers to those questions are important to consider. AND, if you are ever scrounging for material for a blog entry or video story for compelling new funders and supporters, staying true to your mission is an easy and ethical source for material!