Journalism needs firmer standards

If you wish to establish a bright line between a “professional” press and everybody else who creates and conducts journalism, then you must create specific standards. “Professionalism” and “integrity” are not specifications. They are goals. And if today’s journalists want to be treated like professionals, they must stop equivocating and accept a standards-based approach. There is no way forward without professional standards of process, presentation, transparency and feedback.

The entire article from which this comes is brilliant and I encourage you to read all of it, but this part stuck out for me.

We often see journalists complain that if bloggers want the benefits of being professional news gatherers, then they must adhere to the same ethical standards that “real” journalists adhere to.

This passage turns that idea on its head and says hey, “real” journalists: if you want to maintain your standing as professionals, those vaunted ethical guidelines of yours must be much more specific and much more uniform.

It sounds like a nearly impossible task. There are so many purveyors of news and information. It would be impossible to get them all to agree to certain standards, right? But isn’t that exactly what we’re asking bloggers to do? Bloggers without, in many cases, formal ties to any organizations whatsoever? If we expect them to adhere to some kind of a standard, we should ask the same of ourselves.

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