Monday, May 02, 2005

Should bloggers be "Deep Throat?"

A question to the five people who read my blog: When, if ever, should bloggers who attend local political functions identify themselves as "media?"

This question arose when I tried (and failed) to get time to attend a "town hall" meeting of two state delegates and a senator from my region. Unfortunately, being only a CITIZEN JOURNALIST, I could not get away from my day job. Nevertheless, I was certain that if I attended the town hall meeting I would leave with a different perspective than a REAL JOURNALIST, and that I would blog my thoughts.

Over the years I have attended political meetings of each major party, and I remember at the start of these events the chairman would inform the room that there was a reporter (usually from the Roanoke Times or New River Valley Current) in the room. I gathered it was journalistic courtesy to announce "Hello, I'm here."

In the case of those of us who blog anonymously (to avoid complications at work, etc) the question of reporting on what we hear as a fly on the wall is troubling. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of "ambushing" a politican, even though we all know we are most likely to get the real deal if an office holder thinks he's not being monitored.

I doubt there is yet an equivalent bloggers' protocol in such situations, but thought I'd ask for opinions. What do you think?