100 articles – ‘About Me/Disclosures on Jess Jarvis’s BuzzMachine blog’

27 September 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘About Me/Disclosures’ on Jeff Jarvis’s BuzzMachine blog

With the rise of blogging came the question of authority. Just who the heck are you, dear blogger, and why should I take notice of anything you say?

The evolution of “about” pages has addressed this issue head on, providing users with some background information on just who they were reading.

Now that journalists have joined the blogosphere, often keeping their blogging activities quite separate from their income-based reporting, the issue of transparency has raised its thorny head.

How do we know where a journalist stands on a particular matter? Should we care?

Journalism academic Jeff Jarvis thinks so. In fact, he leads by example, listing every company with which he has had any dealing, whether professional or personal.

The argument goes that if you state where you’re coming from, your readers will be able to make their minds up for themselves as to how much your own experiences colour your writing. And they will respect you for it. This thinking is in line with academic and journalism commentator Jay Rosen’s thesis, ‘the view from nowhere’.

Of course it’s fair enough to wonder who can be bothered reading disclosure statements anyway.

But in an industry where truth-telling is the mission, building the trust of your audience is a crucial step.

Mary-Lou Ciampa is studying the Graduate Diploma of Journalismat La Trobe University.

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