There has been much discussion in the last day about the Wisconsin teacher who posted an anonymous comment online praising the Columbine shooters. The comments were made on a conservative Wisconsin blog site.
For many bloggers there is an assumption that they are an extension into the world of journalism. I am not assuming that is the mindset of the blogger that set off this story. Having once actually worked as a reporter, I do not pretend to be one here on Caffeinated Politics. But there does seem to be a growing belief that bloggers are the new world of journalism.
But if we assume that blogs are a form of journalism, then should we not also expect the standards of a newsroom to also apply to these online efforts?
What is written, both in a blog post and in the comments section, should adhere to some ground rules of good taste and common sense. If you could not print the text in either the news or editorial sections of the New York Times, or the Wisconsin State Journal there might be good cause to second guess if it should show up on a blog. This in no way limits free speech, but just allows a higher standard to exist.
The comment that spawned this news story should never have been posted. There are times when censorship is warranted. Though it is usually not required, a blogger must understand their responsibility in this new era of information and technology, and then make the correct decisions.
In other words, much like an editor of a newspaper, we need to sift out ‘the letters to the editor’ to insure that we do not create havoc or potential injury with irresponsible speech.