Sunday, July 31, 2011

Media Bloggers Association

I came across this in some of the research I'm doing and thought it'd be worth making available.  It's called the Media Bloggers Association.  Some of you may already know about it, but it looks like they offer useful information for bloggers, especially those who write about issues that could get them sued.

I cut and pasted the text from their About Us page, see below:

The Media Bloggers Association was founded in 2004 by dozens of leading bloggers as a "mutual defense pact" for bloggers facing legal threats. Among the founding members: Robert Cox, Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Rebecca MacKinnon, J.D. Lasica, Terry Heaton, Matt Sheffield, Bryan Keefer, Patrick Frey. Other leading members include John Amato of Crooks and Liars, Glenn Reynolds of Pajamas Media/Instapundit, Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice, Jeralyn Merritt of Talk Left, Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters/Hot Air and many others.
In the course of the past five years, the MBA has provided a wide range of legal support services to hundreds of bloggers facing legal threats related to their blogs. MBA lawyers have represented dozens of bloggers including most recently Joan Stewart in the Oprah Winfrey case -- working with lawyers for Arianna Huffington and The Huffington Post. Other well-known cases include Associated Press/Drudge Retort, State of Maine/Maine Web Report, Batesline/Tulsa World.
To support its First Amendment mission, the MBA worked with Media/Professional Insurance to developing the first-ever media liability insurance for bloggers in 2008. The MBA has a network of 75 attorneys operating in 20 states available to offer members basic risk assessments in the event of legal threats for defamation, privacy violation, and copyright violation.
As part of its commitment to supporting bloggers who wish to operate in a journalistic capacity, we have obtained media credentials for bloggers for presidential debates (GOP-Baltimore, DEM-California, Ohio, DC), federal trials (Scooter Libby), conferences (NAA, ASNE), shareholder meetings (Gannett), sporting events (LPGA, MLB) and more. MBA has set up content distribution deals for members with news outlets like Associated Press, Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive, PBS and others.
MBA Mission
The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.
The Media Bloggers Association advances its mission as follows:
* Promoting its members by advancing the grassroots media movement generally, showcasing exemplary instances of media blogging and citizen journalism, making members available for media appearances, and otherwise creating promotional opportunities for the MBA and its members.
* Protecting members by defending the rights of bloggers and citizen journalists generally, providing first-line legal advice to members, and partnering with organizations dedicated to promoting values enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
* Educating its members through mutual support and robust internal discussion, by partnering with organizations dedicated to education in the area of technology, methods and standards and otherwise creating educational opportunities for the MBA and its members.
Statement of Principles
The Media Bloggers Association celebrates diversity of experience, purpose and opinion. Our members include veteran and newly minted bloggers, seasoned journalists and those who don't consider themselves journalists, political conservatives, moderates and liberals. We recognize that people join the Media Bloggers Association for various reasons: to promote freedom of expression in cyberspace, for mutual support, education, training, legal support, collegiality, greater visibility for their efforts.
The Media Bloggers Association believes in the independence and freedom of expression of our members. We recognize that our members are autonomous agents who take varied approaches to blogging. As a result, it's not the place of the MBA to create a code of conduct for bloggers or to enforce such rules. When we blog, each of us is accountable for our own actions, and we own our own words.
Blogging is not only a publishing medium but also a vibrant form of personal expression. Media Bloggers Association members slip in and out of roles as journalists, reviewers, poets, pundits or provocateurs with each post. When our members practice journalism, they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other journalist and must be accorded the same First Amendment rights and legal privileges as those who work for traditional media organizations. We accept the Wikipedia definition of journalism as "a discipline of collecting, verifying, reporting and analyzing information gathered regarding current events, including trends, issues and people."
The Media Bloggers Association encourages members to comply with commonly accepted standards of fairness and transparency. We believe that it is up to readers to develop their own trust relationships with bloggers and we ought not to interfere in that relationship. We believe our role is limited to presenting standards as aspirations and offering guidance on how to achieve those aspirations through education, robust discussion and mutual support.
Standards we encourage include:
Honesty, fairness and accuracy: State what you know and how you know it. Use links to supporting documents on the web wherever possible; credit sources and link to other bloggers. Distinguish fact from rumor and speculation. Be intellectually honest when expressing opinion. Don't plagiarize or pass off others' work as your own. Act responsibly and with personal integrity.
Transparency: Clearly disclose conflicts of interest including personal relationships, financial considerations or anything else that might influence or appear to influence your independence and integrity. If you accept payments from advertisers or sponsors, clearly demarcate advertorial from editorial content.
Accountability and trust: Use your own name and offer a means for readers to communicate with you. Engage your readers and trust them to form their own judgments and conclusions. Correct your mistakes promptly using strikethroughs or editor's notes.
Respect for the privacy of private citizens: Private individuals may not want photographs, videos or information about them made available to a global audience, even if they're in a public space. Use your judgment, and use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
We will not be an arbiter or judge of whether our members are following these standards; nor will we resolve disputes between members. We encourage members to adhere to these standards, and we encourage the community to call our members to task when we fall short in our words or deeds.
A note on anonymity
As a general rule, the MBA does not accept bloggers as members anonymously or pseudonymously. We believe that bloggers should own their own words. Also, we are a member organization and we have to know the identity of our members. At the same time, the MBA recognizes the value of anonymous speech and knows it has a storied and valuable history. We are willing to make exceptions and have done so, but this is done rarely and only when there is a clear and compelling reason to do so. If you blog anonymously or under a pseudonym and wish for us to make an exception please let us know.
MBA Board of Directors
We changed the company from a Delaware corporation to a New Jersey non-profit and will have to formally reconstitute the Board of Directors in the coming weeks. Once that's done we will announce the new board here.

No comments:

Post a Comment