After yet another shameful, accidental hiatus, what better topic to jumpstart this blog than blogging itself? I’m currently in the fifth class of my master’s program, with just about a year left before the promise of graduation and looming student loan payments. The A-student in me loves the gold star approach to grad school, but it has been difficult for me to apply some of the lessons to my job.
With this class, however, the lessons have never seemed more relevant.
Ethical communication practices must be prevalent in every field, one of the interdisciplinary perks of studying communication. A prime example from this week’s readings is sponsored blog posts, or what might be perceived as inappropriate relationships bloggers have with companies that provide samples in exchange for product reviews. It never occurred to me to seek sponsorship opportunities; not only do I not do product reviews, but that kind of revenue probably demands an audience…or consistent posts for an audience to read.
That said, is it inherently unethical for bloggers to receive these samples? Makeup bloggers, for instance, probably drop a pretty penny on product. In my opinion, the ethical burden lies with the blogger themselves.
- Would they have tried this product regardless of it being free?
- Is their review honest and credible, even if negative?
- Do they clearly state the product was a free sample, given with the expectation of receiving coverage on their blog?
As someone who started their blog for their journalism class, I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to expect sponsorship of any sort. It kind of goes against the journalistic spirit, doesn’t it? That’s why ad departments are usually separate from the news division, to prevent even the perception of an inappropriate effect on reporting. But blogs are more of a hobby, right? Who am I to begrudge hobbyists finding a revenue source to fund their habits?
Just be honest about it, friends. That’s the ethical way.