NEW YORK - When Jerome Armstrong began consulting for Howard Dean (news- web sites)'s presidential campaign, he thought the ethical thing to do was to suspend the Web journal where he opined on politics.
The growing influence of blogs such as his is raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 27 percent of adults who go online in the United States read blogs. And blogs have greater impact because their readers tend to be policy makers and other influencers of public opinion, media experts say.
Longtime blogger Rebecca Blood circulated guidelines that call for disclosing any conflicts of interest, publicly correcting any misinformation and linking to any source materials referenced in postings.
"It seems pretty clear to me that having some kind of standard contributes to an individual blogger's own credibility," she said.
Yet Blood knows of fewer than 10 bloggers who have adopted her guidelines by linking to the document.
When Apple Computer Inc. got court orders allowing it to subpoena bloggers for the identities of people who had leaked company secrets, two of the bloggers responded by claiming they were entitled to protect confidential sources the way traditional journalists do.
So much of this article is a flight of fancy. It would have been much more effective to have used some numbers:
How many blogs are there?
How many of them seek a higher order of credibility?
How many of them are slapping the keys for pay?
How many of them are just regular folks with something to say?
How many of them are political?
How many of them are for external personal gain?
For me, social commentary is a primary goal. I like evaluating and asking questions about what's out there, as well as interviewing myself about what's in here. I guess the latter would be anti-social commentary.
Does that make me a journalist? No. Does that make me a curious commentor on the curious? Yes.
The last thing I need is someone regulating my creative outlet. If that were to happen, tho, maybe it would get my ass painting again.