Journalistic Integrity Has Never Been More Important Than Now…

July 31, 2009

In the past year, Mommy Bloggers have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The group of micro-bloggers have proved to be an influential army that have halted media campaigns (just ask Motrin), has become the target of consumer PR campaigns worldwide, and most recently launched a Content Integrity Organization. Interesting.

While some bloggers (and, I’m not trying to single out the MBs) are intent are maintaining the same journalist integrity as the traditional breed of journos, some are standing by their right to snag free swag. See Ad Age’s recent article “Don’t Hate Mommy Bloggers for Their Swag”. It’s an interesting read that likens the group of bloggers to the long-standing practices of of lifestyle, women and parenting magazines and basically says, there’s nothing wrong with with accepting free product and endorsing them outright via social media outlets.

As a PR professional, I don’t entirely disagree as the practice has forever existed and will undoubtedly continue. However, a bloggers voice is not hidden in the pages of Vogue or Maxim, it IS your brand. Isn’t your voice, and its credibility, worth protecting? Regardless if your readership is audited or not, I think so.

Here at Caster, we and our client’s maintain a tried and true policy for review units. The majority of traditional journalists and gear/tech bloggers we send product to are extremely professional; signing loan agreements, reviewing and returning product, and slating the review for editorial coverage. They practice full disclosure to their readership by positioning the review as just that and identifying positives (and negatives, sometimes to our client’s dismay) of the product(s). Even though we sometimes have the opportunity to respond and work through snags, these writers maintain complete professional integrity which their readership, and we, value. While social media continues to govern the future of our respective professionals, I believe that journalist integrity will only become more important. In the absence of today’s publications (as we know them), consumers will look for credible resources through the weeds of the internet’s informational over-load. Your voice could be just that.

So, to mommy bloggers simply looking for an outlet to share their voice, I say go for the free swag and enjoy! To mommy bloggers who are vying to become a reputable, knowledgeable resource, whether it be for friends, manufacturers, marketing professionals, or other consumers, I would be a bit more cautious to avoid a stigma attached to your name.

Posted by: Katie | follow me on Twitter