Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Best Of The Drifts - Constablegate: The Final Note

Originally published August 10, 2009

A Final Note On ConstableGate

The first piece I wrote about Kyle Constable/John Oxendine was pretty much straight up news. The second piece was more my first person journalism style. This final note will be pure opinion.

Having spoken both on and off the record to the Oxendine campaign and to Kyle, here is my bottom line take on the situation: The campaign acted very stupidly by engaging with a minor, but unlike some have recently said, I believe their intentions were innocent.

The reason I tied my piece to the ethics of blogging was not to pick on a 15 year old who may or may not have the knowledge and experience to understand the consequences of his actions. However, his actions are another episode in the never ending fight about how journalists, campaigns and bloggers interact and how closely do bloggers follow traditional reporting rules and that's a subject I feel compelled to note.

There are some out there who talk both ways about what on the record means and what verification means and they are not minors (at least one of these adults I believe had an influence on Kyle and his subsequent actions). However, since they were only tangentially related to this story, I felt the focus had to be Kyle and his actions.

But take it from someone who recognizes that these types of murky ethics will lead to another cycle of recriminations from traditional media, we know who you are, so does the public and it doesn't matter how many page views or hits you rack up, your reputation is in your hands.

And in this business that's all that really matters.

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