Blogging with Integrity

by Valerie on August 27, 2009 · 4 comments

Seeing this post on Yogademia a few weeks ago was a good reminder of the importance of holding blogging up to all other journalistic standards. As a lawyer, footnoting and attribution is very much part of my day-to-day, so it took me a little while to get used to the freer writing in blogging. Yet, just because the writing is freer does not mean that standards should be different.

Here is the Blogging with Integrity Pledge, followed by some thoughts on the matter:


By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Even before I saw the Blogging with Integrity badge, I remained very conscious of attribution. As much as I love that the internet provides tons of free photos, I always check whether a photo is under a Creative Commons license or so widely distributed that its usage does not infringe copyrights. I always provide photo credits too.

With regards to original photos from other blogs, I have a personal policy to never download an original picture from someone else’s blog without asking for permission first and crediting appropriately. This policy goes back to when I started blogging 2+ years ago. The policy holds even if the blog has a Creative Commons license or if the blog owner has given me permission in the past with regards to a different picture. I am very conscious that I am part of a community of bloggers. I know that food bloggers have especially been facing a lot of photo theft and I have to tell you, it really bugs me when I see a beautiful food picture from a food blog on someone else’s blog without any attribution that the picture is indeed from those blogs. Often, the food blog is mentioned, but the picture attribution is missing. I know how hard it is to take beautiful food pictures {as my sad food pictures can attest to} and the photos should be properly attributed. I know from following Orangette and Smitten Kitchen on twitter that this upsets them greatly. For whatever reason, they seem to be particular targets as I see their pictures elsewhere so very often.

Blogging with Integrity did cause me to make three changes in my blogging:

1. Disclosure statement – I now include a disclosure statement whenever I review an item I received for free. In the past I usually would include the fact I received the item free within the text of my review but I decided the disclosure statement was more clear.

2. Recipes – I have started to ask permission when I post a recipe from another food blogger, unless I have changed it enough to make it its own recipe {and then, I still credit the source of inspiration}. I made this decision based on both the Blogging with Integrity Pledge and the Recipe Attribution piece David Leibowitz wrote for the Food Bloggers Alliance.

3. Inspiration – so often I see a blog post that inspires a new blog post topic for me, so I have been especially mindful of giving credit in such situations.

To me, blogging with integrity is really about mindful, responsible blogging.

What do you think?
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melita August 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

i SO agree with everything you have just said. this is just one of the many reasons why you rock! :)


2 Mom101 August 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

As one of the originators of BWI I think this post just totally rocks in every way. How great that we can inspire one another to think more critically about what we do and how we do it better.


3 Ananda August 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

Thank you for sharing the information.


4 Globetrotting Cacti August 28, 2009 at 8:24 am

Thanks for sharing this useful information. I am new to blogging to it is great to read about etiquette.


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