Sunday, May 03, 2009

Food blog ethics, continued, from commentors and the Washington Post

The proposed Foodblog Code of Ethics drew some really thoughtful comments here and on their site. It's already been amended to include most of my problems with it, in fact.

Coincidentally, the Washington Post weighed in today with the story Foodie Free-for-all, for which I was contacted a few weeks ago. It mentions the strict Chowhound policy that posters cannot write about free meals at all, which probably comes as news to some people.

Here's a few of the excellent comments we got:
  • "I think that any blogger, food or otherwise, should have a posted "code" and then follow it," says Cybele, pointedly following up with "That's my first impression of opinions after reading over it today. (I'll have to check back at the site in a month before I can do a full review.)"
  • Also rather acerbic was Sku, who wrote "I fully support this effort to import the stodgy practices of print jouralism to blogging. After all, that's part of the reason why the print journalism world is thriving."
  • Jonah said, "My first impression, to borrow a term, is that this Code of Ethics is well intentioned, but misguided. Who defines what "fair" is?"
Thanks to everyone who chimed in and helped me clarify my own code, which has been basically unchanged since I started this blog and is listed in the right column. It's an interesting discussion at this particular time, especially, as this month seems to have brought more offers for lavish free dinners than ever before, and though I'm interested in trying some these restaurants, I'll continue to try to make it crystal clear when I'm writing about comped meals.


cybele said...

They posted an update.

It includes full encouragement to steal intellectual property. (Yeah, you can take photos from other places on the net. Might wanna credit them, especially if you don't want to bother with permission cuz you're busy.)

I commented on Saturday and they said they'd take a look at it.

Leah Greenstein said...

Thanks for your really thoughtful post. As me mentioned in our update, this is going to be a living document. We're trying to balance all of the food bloggers who approach their work casually and those who take themselves a bit more seriously and finding that very hard to do. We're working on amending the photo elements to reflect copyright law. The last thing we want is to be encouraging people to steal. But we both have full time jobs, and want to make sure we finish our research before we update things again.