Another round in the never-ending argument over who is, and who is not, and who should or should not be, a journalist, and how to report responsibly. If you are a witness, are you a journalist? A reporter? A citizen? Are your beliefs and biases relevant, and does your reader deserve the right to know them? Is reporting open to anyone, or just to members of the club of professionals who observe (or ignore) a particular code of ethics?
It's an old debate, of course, but I think Jeff Jarvis makes several good points, debating a journalistic colleague, Michael Tomasky, who is in favor of requiring a code of ethics. Jarvis believes, rather, in openness - and that, in turn, covers the witness-journalist as well as the professional.
My own take (duly noted in the comments to Jarvis's post):
Transparency is, or should be, the rule, whether one is talking about “professional” journalism or “citizen” journalism.
In a way, that should be easier for print media, if only because - despite the constant claims of “objectivity” - so many publications make their biases and beliefs quite clear. The New York Times and the Washington Times may represent different ends of the political spectrum, but it is pretty clear to me as a reader which is which, and I tend to read their stories through those presumed prisms.
The same is often true of blogs. Certainly Jeff has his own perspective on issues regarding communications, and he makes them very clear to the reader. There is a difference between Daily Kos and Hugh Hewitt, and it would take an awfully dim-witted reader to be unable to uncover their points of view.