We talked about ethics in my News Writing 2 class today, and it got me thinking about my ethics when I write posts for this blog. I mean, obviously I write truthfully — I promise I’m actually a college sophomore and not some random 50-year-old-man — but I don’t always write in the fully objective manner journalists strive for. So I figured I should be transparent about what goes on in my head when I decide what to write about — aka, my personal code of ethics.
I won’t make shit up.
My journalism teacher said it pretty well in class today when we were discussing being truthful — don’t make shit up. And I won’t. I won’t write that I almost got hit by a PT Cruiser when it was actually 50 feet away from me, just because I think it may be funny. I won’t embellish any situation, because there’s a slippery slope between adding one tiny little false detail to a story and making an entire scenario up.
Going off that, I sometimes edit my photos in Picnik, but I will never photoshop something that changes the picture completely. So I won’t subject you guys to pictures like this lovely masterpiece. Yeah. You’re welcome.
I will be honest about who I am and how my biases might affect my writing.
Here’s a little Annie 101 that will clue you in on some of my biases. Basically, I care about three main things: (1) My family and those close to me; (2) the Great Lakes; (3) Inclusion programs and opportunities for children with special needs. I’m also incredibly proud of being a Michigan State Spartan. There are times when these biases will be pretty clear (such as my post gushing about how much I love my cottage), and times when they won’t be.
But, that being said, there are times when I just need to keep my own dang opinion out of it.
Like when I’m writing about something factually. There are two sides to every story (or even more than that), and I will present more than one side so you can decide for yourself how you feel about the subject. This doesn’t happen too much because I generally just write about things that happen to me at school, but we all know you don’t need me to shove my beliefs down your throat at every opportune moment.
I will make this blog accessible to the readers.
Time for an ego boost: you guys, my readers, are the #1 reason for writing this blog. I mean, why would I spend my time doing something if I don’t want people to read and write back? I want this to be a place where readers can give feedback. Like what you’re reading? Have something you’d like me to write about? Think I’m a complete moron? Tell me. (Although I’d appreciate if you’d use a word that’s more interesting than “moron.” For example, “nutty as a fruitcake” or “an odd duck” are much better at getting the point across.)
And, lastly, if I can’t justify it to my mom, I probably shouldn’t post it.
This isn’t saying I’ll only post nice things about what goes on at campus. But if I’m thinking about posting something that will unnecessarily hurt someone and result in a phone call from my mom asking, “What on earth did you write that for?!” it’s probably not something I should be writing about. Does this mean I’ll be a pansy about what I write? No. But I won’t write something that could potentially hurt someone just for the sake of uploading content to my blog.
Sooo, there you have it. And now I should probably go study or do something scholarly. (Like sleep. Mmmmm.)