Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Belshaw Blogs - statement of editorial policy

I am carrying this statement on each of my blogs.

There has recently been a fair bit of discussion (here, here, here and here, for example) about problems and issues associated with blogging.

I publish and mainly write four blogs, each serving a different purpose. In doing so, I try to be accurate. However, recently I made some mistakes of fact and interpretation in a story. They were pointed out to me and I have corrected them.

This case provided an excellent illustration of the need for care. I thought therefore that I should provide a statement of principles governing my approach to all my blogs. Each blogger has their own approach. This is mine.

All my blogs are intended to stimulate interest in and discussion on particular topics. They provide an opportunity for me to place ideas, thoughts, information and research on the public record. I spend a fair bit of time thinking about individual stories and want my readers to value the visit experience. I also believe that blogs are a way of encouraging civilised conversation. To this end:

  1. All my blogs contain a mix of fact, analysis, recollection and opinion.
  2. I try to check my facts. However, I will make mistakes. Where I do so, I will make corrections to the story and, if necessary, acknowledge the mistake.
  3. There will also be mistakes in my analysis. Again, I am happy to recognise and discuss such errors.
  4. While I try to be objective, I recognise that my own values and opinions colour my writing. I will try to write in such a way that the reader can properly indentify my views and biases and hence make their own judgments. This holds especially when I am arguing a case.
  5. When writing as an analyst, I try to deconstruct the elements in a discussion so that I can properly present issues and approaches. I will try to do so independent of personalities.
  6. Since I want to encourage civilised conversation, I will try to treat my visitors with courtesy even where I disagree with them. I reserve the right to delete comments where those comments are nasty or may create legal problems, but I will never delete a comment just because I disagree with it.
  7. As part of civilised conversation, I will try to recognise other's ideas, to contribute to relevant discussion on other people's blogs and to answer promptly emails arising from my blogs.

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