Blog Basics

  • Short for Weblog, Blogs started becoming popular in the early 90's according to Blogs allow people express their ideas and opinions in an open forum where other people are able to view them and leave comments if they wish.
  • Blogs take many different forms. Sometimes they are simply online journals, such as, where others are more akin to social networking, such as, and then others take a more serious and journalistic approach, such as the Huffington post.

Blogging and journalism

  • There was recent discussion concerning blogging and election time. The Parliamentary Elections Act was possibly going to be used in order to keep bloggers from posting their opinions about upcoming elections (read more here). This raised the question, is blogging more than just opinions, is it a form of journalism?
  • If one is to consider Blogging journalism, a code of ethics is required. This blogger has taken it upon himself to put forth such a set of rules.


Current laws state that any form of advertising, wether on the internet or the newspaper or radio, costs money, and therefore is regulated by campaign finance laws. This raises several questions. (Source: The coming crackdown on blogging)

  • Does a link to a candidates website count as advertising?
  • Does a favorable review of a candidate count as a contribution?

The question is also raised, if we are to count the above things as governable by the campaign finance laws, what is the value of a hyperlink? How do you measure the cost to produce a blog? If we are to start counting each hyperlink related to political issues as a certain dollar amount, then it will limit those who wish to link to their favorite politicians for fear of becoming regulated by the government. If bloggers are required to log the time and money spent producing a blog, then we run into issues of people who pay different rates for internet and electricity.

If blogs become susceptable to campaign finance law, then does that require that all blogs related to politics be required to be at a certain level of accuracy? Are blogs to be checked for accuracy before they can be posted? This raises questions about freedom of speech. If we are to start requiring blogs to have the same level of accuracy as any other news related publications, then you start defeating the original intent of blogs, to be personal opinions on the issues. Who do you get to check blogs for accuracy? Do you create another agency to regulate blogs, thereby spending more taxpayer money to regulate an ever growing field?

Blogging Ethics

Blog Ethics 2004 attempts to answer several concerns about blogging ethics. In order to look at the ethics of blogging, you have to first define the purpose of blogging. If you are to address blogging the same as you address any news publication, then the set of ethics are quite strict, for example (take from

  • Do not plagiarize
  • Identify and link sources
  • Do not post known innaccurate information
  • Recognize the points of the other side
  • Correct mistakes when found

However, if you are to address blogs simply as a personal outlet of the individual, the rules change. Everybody has the right to post whatever they please on their personal blogs, if you get into regulating the nature of their content you change the nature of blogs themselves.

Using the definition of blogs as being personal journals, there are issues that arise when these personal journals are revealed to people around the author, such as Ellen Simonetti's case who was fired for simply posting pictures of her fellow co-workers on her blog. The official reason was for having "inappropriate pictures" on her blog, but the pictures were supposedly just of her other co-workers, just like several other pictures Ellen found online outside of a blog setting. The personal nature of blogs becomes even more of an issue when it involves public figures, such as teachers. Do teachers, as a responsibility towards the children they come in contact with, have a certain responsibility to curtail their opinions and content of their blogs?