Old-school values

In the comments on the post/book immediately below, my friend Fred Wilson said I was sticking with old-school notions. I left this comment in response and think it’s worth bringing the discussion out here:

In journalism education, I talk a lot about the need to rewrite and break rules, to end old assumptions, to work with new realities. I talk about it far too much for the taste of some (many, actually).

But I also talk about the values that are worth maintaining and preserving. Credibility is the essence of that. Not selling your voice is the key to credibility. It is the foundation of independence. There are other worthy values I talk about, too: fairness, accuracy, completeness. And this week on Newshour, I included in the discussion the ethics I have learned from the blogosphere: the ethic of the correction, of the link, and of transparency.

In the professional arena, I also talk a lot about the need to reexamine the wall between church and state, the need for journalists themselves to take responsibility for the sustainability of journalism.

But that makes is all the more important that we understand how to maintain independence and credibility. That makes these selected “old-school” values all the more critical.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers oneself a journalist, though. Credibility is the same for all of us. Our readers expect us to speak with them directly, as trusted friends. My neighbors aren’t paid to speak to me. No one is (yet) trying to buy their voices. I expect the same here.

I don’t want to tear down all the old schools. I want to update them.

And I clearly believe in the importance of advertiser support for media, including the media of the people. But that, too, is why I think it is important to have these discussions openly and in detail, so that bloggers will build and maintain their credibility. For if they lose their credibility, they lose their value both to their readers and to their advertisers. That much has not changed: Advertisers, including Microsoft, want to be associated with people of who have the respect of their shared public.