Journalist’s Online Identity

In a blog post on contentious.com, Amy Gahran, an editor and media consultant, discusses how employee’s Internet presence is being limited and why she thinks that is a bad idea. She talks about how Forrester Research, a technology and market research company, created a new policy. With the new policy, analysts can’t have their own personal blogs. Management is referring to “personally-branded blogs where the analyst comments on issues related to their research coverage or technology markets.” Basically, this means that employees are allowed to have personal blogs as long as they don’t discuss work-related topics.

Gahran writes that this is the equivalent of saying “If you work for us, we reserve the right to own your brain and your social/professional network and reputation.” Although this is a research company, she talks about journalist’s Internet and blog use sometimes being limited.  She says some news organizations don’t allow employees to have blogs or limit what content can be posted on them.

She says, “In the journalism world they claim this is to ‘preserve objectivity’ (as if objectivity ever existed, or as if transparency doesn’t promote credibility more effectively). I agree that the benefits of journalists working for orgs probably outweigh the disadvantages. Not only can blogging expand your audience, it can connect you to readers.

Gahran goes on to say that with the state of journalism, it’s crucial to build a personal online brand and presence to help secure a future for yourself. In one of her older posts, she compares having a blog to being “media career insurance.” I think she makes a strong argument that no employer should be allowed to completely dictate your online identity.

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