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How to Adapt Journalistic Standards to Mom Blogging

While journalistic standards are slightly different for print, broadcast, and online organizations, they share common elements of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability (that’s an adapted quote from Wikipedia).

Most of all, journalistic standards establish a separation between the departments that bring in revenue (advertising and sponsorship sales) and the departments that develop content. This creates a natural boundary to prevent many perceived conflicts of interest.

The different natures of blogging and journalism have certainly caused friction over the years as blogs have become more influential in the mainstream media. The perceived problem isn’t with the fact that bloggers’ content and journalists’ content are created in such different ways.

The problem is that people consume the two different kinds of content in very much the same way. People have come to demand a certain level of honesty from the people and organizations that produce the content they read. This is why the FTC stepped into the blogosphere in 2009 and established new guidelines on how testimonials and endorsements must be presented.

The FTC has its own set of rules, as does Google. The rest are less concrete and open to interpretation by the general public. Your most loyal readers will likely trust your opinion because they know you well. But you also need to be concerned about the readers who don’t know you well.

Unfortunately, the nature of interactions on the Internet means that most new readers will not trust you right off the bat; they tend to expect the worst.

You know how the law says you’re not innocent until proven guilty? Same deal with trust: You’re not considered trustworthy until you prove you are; you have to earn every bit of trust you receive. So no matter how ethical you are at a personal level, it is your professional level of ethics that will make the most difference in your business and the level of trust it enjoys.

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