Two events this week bring to the forefront the depth of change in news and journalism.
First, TechCrunch received over 300 documents from an individual who had hacked into Twitter’s network. In an effort to draw attention to itself, TC released some of the documents. The information ranges from silly (projections of users) to somewhat serious (revenues). The resulting conversation has produced many questions (and here) about ethics. Should bloggers publish stolen information?
Second, Walter Cronkite passed away. He’s tag line – “that’s the way it is” (no, not Celine Dion)- suggests an era where we could know the right answer or hold the right perspective on a problem or situation. He has been called “the most trusted man in America”. In our fragmented media and news ecology today, it’s hard to imagine that anyone will ever gain that type of reputation/status. Too many voices. Too many perspectives. Too many media sources.
Back to the Twitter/techcrunch issue: Ultimately, the ethics and standards of formal journalism doesn’t apply to bloggers. TechCrunch is an interesting source of news and information. It is among the best in the field at what it does. But, I don’t call in journalism. It’s more a blend of gossip/insider information. Ethics are important, but as the conversation around the release of Twitter documents reveals, ethics are negotiated amongst bloggers. A definitive list as provided by a professional journalist organization doesn’t apply.