This week, the New York Times, BBC and San Francisco Chronicle were all talking about a new “Blogger’s Code of Conduct” posted by well-known author and blogger, Tim O’Reilly. His code was in response to a fellow blogger’s posts about getting a number of violent and disturbing anonymous comments on her blog. Apparently, this is not at all unusual.
A separate but related thought – the week before, I read something on CNN about a blogger being released from jail. He had spent more than 226 days there after refusing to give up footage of a CA street riot to police. 226 days. That’s more than any journalist who has refused to give up sources to the police.
These two events got me thinking – should bloggers have the rights and protections of journalists? They seem to be getting the rough part of it – from jail to anonymous threats. And we know they’re getting the good part of it – exclusives and huge readership. But still, a recent report from Edelman shows that bloggers are the least trusted source of information. (Not surprising to those in the PR world, articles in business magazines are the most credible.)
So how do PR professionals balance the dedication of bloggers as journalists with the lack of perceived credibility from the public? I would argue that in the coming years, the influence of bloggers will become more prominent and reliable. So for now, start to develop relationships with bloggers in your clients’ space – but don’t take your eye off the prize. Everyone still loves BusinessWeek.