The Reuters ‘Handbook of Journalism’

By KELSEY PINAULT

“Internet reporting is nothing more than applying the principles of sound journalism to the sometimes unusual situations thrown up in the virtual world.”

The Web site Handbook of Journalism, is a guide to journalism from the Reuters news service. These journalists share a common goal of handling news with the utmost integrity and honesty.

Within the handbook, there is a section called “A Guide to Reuters Operations” that is then separated into five subsections, one of which is “Reporting from the internet and using social media.”

The general guidelines of internet reporting advises reporters to never misrepresent themselves, know their subject, give clear headlines and attributions, stay fair when presenting all information, and always do a reality check of the news being reported.

Next, this section of the handbook goes on to describe the right way to report news using a social media online. This section starts off with an explanation, “we want to encourage you to use social media approaches in your journalism but we also need to make sure that you are fully aware of the risks.”

The section goes on to give recommendations for reporting through social media: think before you post, avoid raising questions about your freedom from bias, be transparent, and keep your private and professional activity completely separate.

After describing social media reporting as a whole, Reuters journalists talk specifically about Twitter. This section explains when it is acceptable to use Twitter as a news source as well as a reporting medium.

The section I was most interested in was the last one about blogging. After explaining that blogging is used as a way not only to easily get news out over the Web, but also to trigger discussion about topical issues. The section goes on to give a bullet-point list guiding internet reporters to the right way to blog.

A Reuters blogger should:

  • Be interesting.
  • Be conversational: raise questions, invite contributions, discuss what’s happening on other blogs, leave some loose ends, and respond to comments made by readers.
  • Link to external sites with relevant information
  • Monitor other bloggers in the same space and attempt to build reciprocal links with them.
  • Tag posts so that they are easy for search engines to find.
  • Inject some personality into their posts and include observation and anecdote.
  • Make use of multimedia whenever possible and think about a post’s layout.
  • Credit the original source of all content embedded in posts.
  • Make sure posts are seen by a second pair of eyes before publication.
  • Ask desks to place a link to their blog/post on relevant stories.

I found this to be the most interesting section of the handbook because I feel that it pertains to our blogging on this site. This is a informative handbook overall, but the blogging section was the most helpful for me and I think it will be for everyone else in CNJ515 as well.

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