This morning I was reading an interesting story that came across the Associated Press newswire entitled "Trainers Help Bloggers Hone Professionalism" and it got me to wondering: as a genea-blogger do I consider myself a journalist? Do I have the same responsibilities as a journalist in terms of fact-checking, risk of being libelous - or am I really an "opinionist"?
The crux of the article is this: many bloggers are now realizing that they can benefit from training, tips and tricks given by professional journalists. Bloggers are participating in workshops and seminars, both local and long-distance, such as those given by the Society of Professional Journalists in Chicago, in order to improve their writing and reporting skills.
When you read the article, don't be put off by the "scare tactic" tone in the beginning which, while I found un-nerving, I'm not sure applies to genea-bloggers:
"Miami real estate agent Lucas Lechuga began blogging to share his knowledge of the local market. He didn't bargain for a $25 million defamation lawsuit when he wrote that a Miami developer had gone bankrupt decades ago.
In Lake Geneva, Wis., commodities trader Gary Millitte registered the Internet domain name LakeGenevaNews.com eight years ago, but is so worried about the legal boundaries of writing online that he still hasn't started the ultra-local news site."
I think that since genea-bloggers "report" on the subject of genealogy which is all about (or should be all about) research and fact-checking, we tend to be more cautious in what we write and do much more evaluation of the message our postings convey.
I'm not sure about you, but part of my role as genea-blogger, as I see it, is educator and trainer. Many of my readers are new to genealogy and as I was, about 15 years ago, I didn't know much about citations and sources and documentation.
But given that, and since the Society of Professional Journalists is based right here in Chicago where I live, I am thinking about taking any training or seminars they might offer to bloggers.
Questions: Have you ever had a difficult situation involving one of your posts on your blog? Has it resulted in a dispute, either private (via email) or public (via counter-posting on another blog)? Is this a topic, that of "truth in blogging," that worries you?