Safe Blogging

Posted on 3/24/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Be careful what you write in your blog. It’s not private. Over the weekend I received a request from a former mid-level employee of a stock agency who wanted me to delete from our Selling Stock archive a story that was published in 2009.

He said the article was “a violation of privacy and a misstatement by PDN magazine.” Initially, PDN had quoted from the author’s blog and Selling Stock followed up with a story that used PDN as a source.

By the time our story was published the author of the blog had deleted some of the original comments that appeared in PDN, but the story was still floating around the blogosphere. The fact that the comments could no longer be found on the author’s blog was noted in our story. I have deleted the story as the writer requested.

Why Now?

Why did the writer care -- five years later -- about a story buried deep in the Selling Stock archive?

I don’t know, but my guess is that this writer is looking for a new position in the industry. He has discovered that at least one prospective employer has done an Internet search for his name. When that potential employer found the comments he had made about his  former employer, the person in charge of hiring may have decided, “We don’t need to take the risk that this guy will find something at out company he doesn’t like and start talking about it on his blog.”

What If You Know Something That Needs To Be Shared

Suppose you learn something that could help your friends and colleagues avoid similar bad situations. What do you do? Blogging may not be the answer.

I receive a lot of phone calls and emails from people who want to share information on a confidential basis. I always honor such requests.

I’m happy to listen. Sometimes the comments become the basis for a story. However, just because one person tells me something doesn’t mean it will eventually make its way into a story. I do what I can to confirm the information (without disclosing the source) before publishing anything. Often, over time, I hear the same thing from multiple sources.

In some cases I quote sources, but only if it is a quote that I have found in another publicly available piece of information, or if the source has specifically given permission for attribution.

I find that rather than identifying sources it is more important and useful to provide an accurate understating and analysis of what has happened in our industry, and what is likely to happen in the future. From time to time I will make mistakes. In the final analysis it is up to readers to decide if the information I provide without attribution is usually accurate and worth considering.

In some case it may be better to share information on a confidential basis with a person who can get the word out rather than blasting the information to the world on your blog.

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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