By Jim Hedger (c) 2007
Welcome to the first edition of 2007. This is going to be a fast paced and exciting year for those of us who work the web for a living. We will see tremendous change and innovation, much of which is already in full swing. Among the most crucial changes we anticipate in 2007 is the maturation of the online news media. We see these changes happening throughout the space as new layouts, formats, authors and ideas are incorporated into our daily reading, listening or viewing rituals. As the online world becomes more complicated, the business of providing honest news and opinion becomes more important.
2007 is going to be a great year in technology and in most of our lives. We in the search and Internet marketing sectors are among the most fortunate people on Earth at this time. In that spirit, I would like to outline a number of New Years resolutions for SiteProNews and SEO-News, the two publications I am responsible for.
1/ We will consistently and faithfully report the news as we see and understand it regardless of consequence or controversy.
We are journalists. Reporting on a multi-billion dollar industry can be a daunting and challenging experience. Where there is smoke there is often fire. Similarly, money and power often attract corruption. It is the role of the news media to ferret out corruption and report on it. That role is integral to the functioning of a free and democratic society and is one our forbearers fought and died for. We will never dishonor their sacrifice by shying away from what we believe to be the truth.
2/ We will continue to speak truth to power.
Even if those in power have the ability to use their strengths against us, we have the responsibility to speak truth to them. This takes guts, determination and the absolute certainty that one has researched and triple checked their facts first but, we deeply and passionately believe in the role of the media as a watchdog.
3/ We will NOT sensationalize our stories or aggrandize our sources.
We report on the facts as we see, hear or interpret them. This includes the use of headlines written as link-bait. There is nothing to be gained by sensationalism, at least not in the long-run. As the history of SiteProNews demonstrates, we are devoted to being here for long-term.
4/ We believe in using the media as a force for social improvement and economic equity.
If we can use our publications to explain techniques and expand on the talents of our audience, we will be helping to create and foster stronger, better informed webmasters and online businesses. In turn, those webmasters and businesses create jobs, wealth and, in the long-run, greater social equity. The best way we can help improve the lives of those living in difficult economic circumstances is to offer accurate information and to motivate through inspiration. Strong, open economies are the cornerstones of strong, open societies. The media has a direct role in fostering openness and therefore can be used as a force for social improvement and economic equity.
5/ We believe in a diversity of opinion and will focus a good deal of energy in the cultivation and support of new voices in the search and webmaster media.
There are a lot of emerging voices in the search and Internet marketing sectors. We will endeavor to foster and support the best of them in order to bring the widest array of information to our audience.
6/ We will only use verifiable statistics.
In the immortal words of the mid-nineteenth century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” While there is no way to avoid their use, we will attempt to temper our use of statistics by also providing as much information on how those stats were obtained as possible. We understand that readers prefer knowing how stats were gathered at least nine times out of ten.
7/ We will make every attempt to avoid the use of anonymous sources. That often requires us to work harder to cultivate sources willing to go on the record.
One of the most difficult decisions an editor can make is the allowance of quotes from anonymous sources. The media consistently owes its audience a full explanation of how news has been gathered, including the names of those who provided the “proof” behind claims made in public.
8/ At the same time, we will make every attempt to protect those who provide us information under the condition of anonymity.
We recognize that some honest people are afraid of the repercussions of telling their truths in a public space.
9/ We will not drink the Kool Aid regardless of who is serving it.
A famous poster of a UFO reads, “I want to believe”. We too want to believe it when we are told about the wonders and integrity of any technology or institution however that would defeat the goal of quasi-objective observation and explanation. We will not drink the Kool Aid, no matter how hot the day might be.
10/ will be adventurous, exploratory and expansive.
Heaven knows our audience is.
11/ We recognize that there is a good and bad side to every story, every entity and every institution. We will not allow individual pieces of bad news to bias our opinions against any entity or institution.
There are always at least two sides to every story just like there are always two sides to any coin. We will always try to present both sides of a story. When we are unable to present both sides of a story from the perspective of those involved, we will endeavor to explain how our audience can find information for themselves.
12/ We will strive for informed objectivity.
The ideal of objectivity is one of the oldest and most important in journalism. It is also one of the most difficult to practice as we all have our biases. In our reporting of the news or presentation of techniques, the editors and writers at SiteProNews will strive for informed objectivity by following these principles as closely as possible.
13/ We will be relentless in our pursuit of any given story.
We believe there is a sense of urgency surrounding what we do everyday. We will strive to follow a story to the ends of the Earth and beyond if necessary.
14/ We will work as hard or harder than our colleagues.
The editorial staff of Jayde-Online works hard. Our friends and family call us crazy and, given the schedules we keep, it is hard to argue with them. It is not unusual for us to put in sixteen hour, six out of seven days of the week. With the coming expansion of SiteProNews to a daily format, a weekly radio show sponsored by Jayde-Online and the ISEDN.org, and our plans to mix video and social network-media into Jayde-Online publications, we expect the work-load to get even heavier in 2007.
15/ We will have fun.
Hard work can be fun when we know that work helps others. We believe we are a beneficial component in the overall information spectrum.
We believe that these resolutions are more than good intentions. It is our intention to treat these resolutions as the principles under which publications I am responsible for are created, published and distributed.
Moving forward, we at Jayde-Online expect you, our audience, to hold us to responsible for maintaining these principles. On behalf of Jayde-Online, I would like to wish everyone a happy, safe and prosperous 2007. Watch for some interesting changes in this space in the coming weeks.
About The Author
Search marketing expert Jim Hedger is one of the most prolific writers in the search sector with articles appearing in numerous search related websites and newsletters, including SiteProNews, Search Engine Journal, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide.