While there’s been plenty of problems with bloggers saying/doing something and other people assuming that those words or actions are endorsed by the bloggers employers, I can only image that grey area gets even greyer when the person is a writer, gets paid to write, and then blogs on the side. LA Observed got ahold of the new Los Angeles Times Ethics Code which addresses this very topic:
“No matter how careful Times bloggers might be to distinguish their personal work from their professional affiliation with the paper, outsiders are likely to see them as intertwined. As a result, any staff member who seeks to create a personal blog must clear it with a supervisor; approval will be granted only if the proposed blog meets the paper’s journalistic standards. When approval is granted, staff members should take care not to write anything in their blogs that would not be acceptable in the newspaper. Staff members should observe the same principle when contributing to blogs other than their own.“
Emboldened by me for emphasis. So, anything on their blog has to be something that would be acceptable in the newspaper. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? But maybe that’s the idea. I mean, if it was acceptable in the newspaper, why would they put it on a blog instead? And same thing goes for comments they might post on other blogs? And if it wouldn’t be acceptable in the paper, they can’t publish it. It also notes that these rules apply to freelancers as well. Additionally there’s a bit about crediting sources which states that The Times will always credit it’s sources unless they are common reference materials but includes no indication as to which of those blogs are considered to be.
This is all interesting because The Times has been using blog formats for a few new sections recently – so they seem to want the benefit of blogs without actually dealing with the realities of blogging.