TechCrunch-Twitter Dust-Up

17 July 2009

Some bickering broke out this week between Michael Arrington at TechCrunch and the folks at Twitter about some documents leaked to Mr. Arrington and then published in a column/post. I haven’t been following the chatter about it, but there is a good summary at Social Media Today.

What caught my eye from Amy Mengel’s report was this comment:

"But, let’s all remember that bloggers, like Arrington, aren’t journalists.
They don’t operate under a professional code of ethics. they don’t report to an
editor or publisher who tells them what to write about or what they can or can’t
reveal. Many of them are ethical, many of them are former journalists, many of
them would have chosen not to publish the documents."

Separate from the facts or otherwise of the particular events (now heading to the courts apparently), the question in my mind is this: When does a blogger who writes for a group-edited blog become de facto a journalist and perhaps subject to the same standards of ethical conduct to which journalists are expected to adhere (to the extent that they do in reality anyway)?

Wikipedia describes Mr. Arrington — a lawyer — as a "founder/co-editor" of TechCrunch. Many think of TechCrunch as an online news source. So, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck . . . ?

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