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PJNet in Middle of Spokane Ethics Arguments

After the Spokane Spokesman-Review broke a mayoral sex scandal, many editors condemned the paper for its use of an undercover forensic computer expert.

However, at least one editor, Linda Grist Cunningham, executive editor of the Rockford Register Star, was swayed to rethink the issue after reading a Leonard Witt IM Interview with Smith that ran here and at Jay Rosen’s PressThink, where I was guest blogging.

She wrote in an opinion piece:

What’s got the journalism columnists, blogs, ethicists — and me — in a quandary is the way in which the Spokane newspaper went about documenting its story. Steve Smith, the newspaper’s editor, explained it… in an interview with blogger Leonard Witt of PJNet:

Yes, another blog helped make mainstream media news.

At Rosen’s site, in keeping with his tradition, I did a lot of updating and after thoughts, where journalists, academics and everyday citizens could have their say. They really helped inform the discussion in ways that simply would not have happened in days prior to blogging.

In the end, at least from my point of view, there are rarely any hard and fast ethical rules. Each of us has to make his or her own ethical choices. I plan to blog a little more about that later.

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