Media ethics 2.0

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Blogging has some challenges as a media. At the moment the media blogosphere consists of a number of ‘cottage industry’ micro-publishers and a number of progressive traditional media companies.For many of the larger companies blogs offer a cheap CMS (content management system) especially when you consider that in order to have got on board web 1.0 they may have spent tens of millions of dollars for the software infrastructure of their main site.

It is often taking them a while to work out how to make the most effective use of blogs and how to monetise them.

Their conventional approach and the larger infrastructure of dedicated sales and editorial teams means that they are largely the same as their previous incarnation.

This includes to varying degrees an amount of checks and balances such as the separation of editorial and sales. The fact that these work most of the time makes slip ups noticable and newsworthy.

In fact Michael Heseltine writing in this months Management Today (which celebrates the magazines 40th birthday) pointed out that the only time the management team at Haymarket Publishing had allowed commercial interests to sway editorial judgement had been when they created a mock-up of the first Management Today and featured the chairman of the British Institute of Management.

Ok, but in reality this separation isn’t practical for most micro-publishers. Rather than trying to pretend that the separation is there why not provide the consumers with complete transparency so they can see who pays for what. Its not just how much they pay, but what proportion of the micro-publishers income they represent.

Let’s face it if you get the majority of your home loan payment and the groceries put on your table by a sponsor, you are not likely to frag them. Readers can understand that, they are media literate and can make allowances.

Its time for a new set of media ethics, will any of the digerati have the guts to embrace it?