At the PCIJ blogging forum yesterday, I adverted to the "metaphysical unease" I sometimes felt in keeping a blog. (The term had readily suggested itself to this student of philosophy because earlier in the day I had left the house without my driver’s license; it was naturally a disconcerting experience, but in the course of the morning I realized it paralleled my blog-writing, at least on those occasions when I paused before clicking on the Save button and wondered, Do I have the license to do what I am about to do?)
I gave three examples of possible conflicts of interest, phrased as questions: Should I "break" a story online or offer the story first to the newspaper I work for? Should I refrain from criticizing other media (even with the best of intentions)? And should I blog about something that I will eventually write for the newspaper in another form, possibly in an unsigned editorial?
My own blog-writing has rather limited objectives: to think through the events of the day, to offer a necessarily limited personal perspective on issues (some large, some positively minute) that have engaged my interest. For all that, I am still (and only) a journalist who happens to keep a blog on the side; I would like to keep to, and be judged by, the same journalistic standards I try to meet (not all too successfully) at work.
Should journalists follow "looser" standards when they blog? Of the questions that were raised in the session I was a part of, this I think was the central one. I offered my answer, but I am under no illusion that it is necessarily the right one.