Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Every pub has to define the integrity lines ...

Author:Philip Suh
Posted:7/16/1999; 3:01:14 PM
Topic:Every pub has to define the integrity lines ...
Msg #:8535
Prev/Next:8534 / 8536

For example, Fortune employs two venture capitalists as columnists, Stewart Alsop and Bill Gurley. Their conflicts are right in the reader's face. In a recent column Alsop promoted one of his investments, one that's competitive with UserLand. Oooops. There's my conflict!

An honest question:

Whats the difference between Stewart promoting one of his investments at, and Dave promoting one of his investments, Frontier, at

Perhaps the difference is, that, as a reader, I might expect Fortune to be impartial--that there is some sort of Journalistic Standard to which I hold a reputable, global news magazine like Fortune.

Should I hold DaveNet and to that same standard? I don't think so. Everything I see on is an editorial product of Userland, and it is no doubt colored by the other half of the company--the software product.

I don't think would be as valuable to me without that perspective. I _like_ the fact that the commentary and opinions are colored by the software. And I like it even when I don't like the commentary and opinions.

So this brings me back to Stewart Alsop and Would Stewart's writing and opinions be interesting without his unique perspective of the software industry, and his venture capital investments? Perhaps not.

But I am aware that there are conflicts of interest--that I should filter Alsop's opinions, just like I filter Dave's opinions. So in the end, even though I'd like to hold Fortune to some ethereal 'Journalistic Standard', in the case of Stewart's article, I'd place it on the same level of Dave's articles--the level of informed opinion.

I am heartened then, by the Mercury News' action. It tells me that the Mercury News cares about its integrity. It tells me that the idea and ideals of true journalism still exist. As a consumer of news in a media environment increasingly concerned with ratings and sales, I like that integrity, and applaud it.

There are responses to this message:

This page was archived on 6/13/2001; 4:51:26 PM.

© Copyright 1998-2001 UserLand Software, Inc.