Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is the Use of a Pseudonym Reason to Fire a Blogger?

The Wall St. Journal's Nick Wingfield wrote about Randall Kennedy, an InfoWorld blogger who used a pseudonym when interviewing sources for his blog. It's an interesting article, "The Second Life of a Tech Blogger."

Famous writers throughout history have used pseudonyms, including Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman and Samuel L. Clemens, to name a few. There's a grand tradition. Stephen King has published books using a pseudonym.

Of course, some of those named above are known for their fiction, not their reporting. But Franklin and Whiman wrote articles and reviews -- including some reviews of their own work -- using pseudonyms.

Today, they would be publicly fired for that.

Even the FTC expects bloggers to disclose tangible relationships with companies they blog about.

So, my question: should a blogger be fired for using a false name in researching and reporting opinion? Let me know what you think. (Of course, let me know if you don't want me to use your real name.)

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