Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blogger journalism, shields, and novel information: good faith, please

Let me take a brief moment to note that I follow a number of sensitive issues about freedom of expression (or self-promotion, perhaps) and social justice, in the most subtle context imaginable.

Sometimes I will learn of administrative, legislative, or court actions on sensitive matters whose meaning is not clear at first, and where I think there is an unusual sensitivity because of some matter, perhaps of a business nature, going on in my life. As an “amateur” journalist, I’m aware of the importance of maintaining business confidences, and sometimes of protecting or obscuring sources of some materials. (The latter is a subject of big controversy: should “journalistic shield laws” apply to self-instantiated bloggers?) There is also a bigger “online reputation” (or even more general reputation) issue: I can’t afford to create the impression that I am out to expose something after exiting a situation or leaving a job (that’s the ABC “Food Lion” problem from an incident in the 1990s leading to litigation).

Some issues do take time to vet before I can blog about them. The amount of time can vary, from a few days or weeks to months. At the same time, within a reasonable time period, I really do want to cover every topic that relates to our debate today on freedom, justice, and culture conflicts. Generally, every important novel topic, at least as an issue (not as it relates to specific people) does get covered in what I believe is a responsible way.

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