Electronic commerce is here to stay – deal with it
This column appeared March 12, 1999, in the Online Journalism Review. Here’s the version on the OJR site.
By J.D. Lasica
The following column is based on remarks made by the author at the Online Journalism Conference held March 10, 1999, in Berkeley, co-sponsored by Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and the Annenberg School for Communication at USC. Lasica appeared on the panel “Reestablishing Credibility.”
Last year I appeared at this conference as a panelist addressing online ethics, so it was a little ironic that at the time I was employed by Microsoft.
Since that time I’ve taken a job as senior editor at BabyCenter, a Webby Award-winning startup in San Francisco that is a very rare creature: a new media company committed to traditional journalism values. Our 10-person editorial team is committed to providing high-quality news and information about pregnancy, babies, and parenting. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying it is to come into work each day and read the latest batch of gushing e-mails from readers telling us how much they love us. That didn’t happen every day at Microsoft.
There’s a second component of our site, the BabyCenter Store, which sells maternity clothes, strollers, toddler outfits and the like, and every day we wrestle with issues over the intersection of retail and editorial credibility. So far, we’ve found the right balance. We’ve built a high level of trust, and we won’t do anything to jeopardize that trust. One of the top priorities on our agenda is to draft a company policy on privacy and editorial ethics, and on Sunday I took a first crack at it, and I think it says something about our philosophy that this is starting with a journalist rather than a marketing person or a lawyer.