If you’re an avid blogger or blog reader like many of our Orange County Web Design team members, you probably discover new, exciting information about topics you love everyday. I personally love reading about the tech and design industry as well as delicious baked good recipes. You might like to read fashion, travel, restaurant or even fictional sports news blogs. There are also personal blogs that write just about everything including current events and politics- essentially anyone can have a blog.
Now with all this information circumventing through our minds and the internet the question is: Do we ever stop and question the validity of what we’re reading? Probably not.
We can usually recognize if a blog is opinion-based, but the truth bias is in our human nature. For the sake of efficiency, we automatically assume most everything is true unless there is a bright red flag that pops up that crosses our common sense or our knowledge of an alternate possibility. Think about it: if we were to question everything that people say from how their day is going to their directions to the nearest gas station it would simply take too long. We generally tend to take things at face value, including what we read in blogs.
Since blogs are such a new medium of communication they have not been held accountable to the same guidelines of credibility other widely distributed publications are. Hardly ever do you see posts that have footnotes of their sources or comments stating from where they received their information. All the strict MLA rules for citing sources was thrown out the window when bloggers began taking charge of our cultural discourse. In effect, bloggers have become reporters with no boundaries that have no incentive to validate their articles. The Associated Press has recognized this tremendous threat presented by bloggers who have recently stirred up irrational international debate and released an article this month detailing new restrictions for credit and attribution guidelines for their staff.
In a policy document by AP Senior Managing Editor Michael Oreskes, the Associated Press has outlined the situations these guidelines are addressing, “Attributing to other organizations information that we haven’t independently reported…[and]…Giving credit to another organization that broke a story first, even when we match it — or advance it — through our own reporting.” He goes on to further state that this is a guideline that transcends all mediums of communication, “We should provide attribution whether the other organization is a newspaper, website, broadcaster or blog; whether or not it’s U.S. based; and whether or not it’s an AP member or subscriber.”
Our company understands that being held accountable for what one writes is of the utmost importance for a blogger because the information he or she distributes and makes available can greatly influence the way people interpret news, events and the world around us. With their guidelines in place, hopefully the AP will take the necessary steps needed to enforce it not only their own staff, but the blogging community as a whole.