This post is by Jody May Marich of Tickle Me Chic
After Maura Kelly's post, “Should Fatties Get a Room?” it became apparent that it is time to talk about ethical decisions on what and what not to post.
First off, everyone has freedom of speech. You are allowed to write, post, say whatever you want but when there are readers hitting your site, be conscious of others and their feelings. This goes for the readers commenting too, check out When Words Attack Bloggers, by Birdie of Bonnie Vie.
As a communications major, with a journalism track I’ve learned and now follow the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics. Now granted, bloggers are different then news reporters but not always. These four points help anyone writing for a mass audience follow ethical guidelines.
- Seek truth and report it. “Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information”
- Minimize harm. “Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.” Show good taste, be compassionate and be sensitive.
- Act Independently. “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.”
- Be Accountable. “Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.” You never know who could be reading your blog. Be aware of what you are writing and whom you are writing for.
Bloggers are citizen journalists and while some don't get paid, others do. If you are paid to blog, be careful showing your opinion in a negative way as it may upset your readers.
Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in- chief, is embracing fashion bloggers. In the March issue, the feature was style bloggers. “We love as much coverage of fashion as possible. We don't care at all where it comes from, and we embrace bloggers and video and social networking, and anyone that's talking about fashion is a good thing. And we now have our own website that incorporates all of that. But I think what's interesting to us with this new phenomenon that ‘everyone's a fashion editor, everyone's a fashion writer' is that all of that actually helps Vogue, because we have access and the understanding of fashion that, forgive me, but maybe some bloggers and some of the newcomers to this world have a little bit less experience of, but as I said, the more the merrier. We embrace it.” While Miss Wintour embraces it, she brings up an important point; the new phenomenon of everyone’s a fashion editor/writer.
Marie Claire has a long-standing mass audience, their bloggers should have enough common sense to not write anything that could be hurtful or outrageous. Being a magazine that embraces healthy body images and promotes wellness and beauty, the editors should have realized the post would not go over well.
Now, most bloggers are their own editors, it’s important that they choose their words wisely. It’s vital that readers come back.
A fellow IFB member, Seamstress Stories, commented on my reaction to the Marie Claire post, saying, “Even if someone is certainly allowed to have their own personal beauty standards (which may say that skinny is more beautiful than fat, or that fat is more beautiful than skinny, or that diversity is beautiful, or whatever), they must be aware that this is just their personal preference, that it is by no means an absolute standard even if it should be in line with the standard flaunted by society around them (that is equally relative) – and in any case, neither a person's beauty standards nor their own history of trauma give anyone a right to write such rude, hurtful things where anyone can read them.”
Image by Emli Bendixen (www.emli.dk)