Rules change for journalists as social media evolves


Browsing through the Internet this afternoon, I came across a very interesting article discussing the relationship between social media and journalists.

The article titled “Social Media Etiquette for Journalists: The Rules Have Changed,” drove home a very important point — because of social media journalists now have to find continuous way to engage their readers while making sure to continue meeting ethical standards.

This is referred to as the “high-wire” act.

Since the boom of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, the rules have indeed changed. It is no longer about having the most well-written story as much as it is about having the breaking news or the juicy details first.

The article addresses five key points of etiquette that have changed since the social media evolution:

1. Decline of the “view from nowhere.”

Opinions and views are now accepted. Journalists no longer need to just “spit out facts and headlines.” This gives every journalist an edge because it allows them to personalize their stories through their social media accounts and relate to people.

2. Deleting Tweets is up for debate.

If you make a grammar or spelling error, journalists can delete Tweets before they go viral – which is a good thing. But the Tweet debate comes when someone’s Tweet sparks controversy. In that case, journalists shouldn’t delete their Tweets. Instead, be happy that your view points are being noticed.

3. Social media policies may not be essential.

According to the article, The New York Times does not have a social media policy in place, but the Wall Street Journal does. However, rules shouldn’t be the main focus of a newsroom – putting out a good product and breaking news should. Therefore, the article says that guidelines should be put in place to “empowering the staff to use social media effectively.”

4. Photos create new ethical issues.

You technically can post pictures you find on social media because it is in the public domain, but as a journalist, there is a certain way to go about that. If you see a picture you want to use, it is best to reach out to the person who posted it, make sure the photo is legitimate, ask permission to use it and credit the initial source. This makes things much easier, and sets a precedent for the future.

5. On which platform will social media be evolving next?

According to the article, social media is not done evolving, and we shouldn’t think it is. Audio storytelling is what the article foresees as the next big thing, and sites like Reddit are making it happen.

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