I chose to examine a former college newspaper colleague’s blog: Earl and Other Greys. The blog is owned and operated by Bethaney Wallace. She and I spent many hours working together in the Kansas State Collegian Newsroom and while she was “just” an English major – it was obvious she had great skill in the journalism trade. As such, I find her blog enticing because it is my ideal of what a blog should be. It’s filled with narratives, anecdotes and some beneficial information. Wallace has not limited herself to a particular issue, like the Food bloggers are, however she still adheres to a code of ethics. This is not stated on her site, but it’s in the text, where it matters most.
Like the Food Blog Code of Ethics, Wallace is accountable in that all blogs have attribution, she is civil – even when she’d rather not be, and she openly reveals bias and mostly follows the rules of good journalism (Burton & Greenstein, 2009). As someone who follows multiple news organizations, the last thing I want to do is fill my time reading about the news from non-experts. Not that bloggers can’t be great news media leaders, it’s just hard to get the access the “big” guys get and therefore the news they get isn’t as timely as their more dominate media brethren.
This is why I enjoy reading informational or entertainment blogs. For example, Wallace’s blog topics range from ranting about her beef with certain retailers to asking for a book publisher to the “best” things about Harry Potter. Clearly this is diverse work and while on the surface Wallace and I couldn’t be more different, I thoroughly enjoy reading this blog. From a journalistic standpoint Wallace succeeds where others have failed by following certain rules. For one, she owns her blog. There are references to things she’s read, seen or heard…but this blog is all Bethaney. The branding is well executed and translates well from her blog to other social media accounts. Another area she excels at is being clear concise and direct, (Dotmarketing, n.d). Perhaps this can be attributed to Wallace’s English degree, but her writing follows the general rules of avoiding passive voice and using good word choice.
The passive voice is something I’ve always struggled with. Courtesy of editors like Wallace it’s typically cleaned up before going to print, but it plagues me nonetheless. I’d like to think my blog is 80 percent informative and 20 percent entertaining. I try to take the assignments and make reading my blog as enjoyable as possible.
Things I excel at:
1. Having my own writing style. Should I ever plagerize I think it’d be fairly obvious.
2. As a journalist I’m a stickler for attribution. While tackling APA style is an ongoing battle for me, I believe in citing or linking to pages when referencing their work. People work hard to put out information, we can’t just take that work for our own.
3. Following important rules – like moral rules. Of course I speed, I have places to go! But, if there was a “Bloggers Code of Conduct” I’d absolutely adhere to it. I think it’s important for people to know a trustworthy source and if we could add a label that we follow a particular code of ethics, it would allow consumers to trust bloggers more. I’d like to think most bloggers are following some type of personal or journalistic code of ethics already.
Things I can improve:
1. More entertainment posts
2. Cut my word count down and work in more video, pictures, etc.
3. Stop snacking after 8p.m. and workout more!
Burton, B., & Greenstein, L. (2009, April 30). The Food Blog Code of Ethics. Retrieved from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/
DM Consulting Services. (n.d). Best Practices: Writing for the web. Retrieved from http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/docs/dm_webwriting.pdf
Wallace, B. (2013). Earl and Other Greys: Blogging with a side of tea. Retrieved from http://bethaneywallace.com/