Journalists and using social media


I want to preface this by saying this person is a college student and not a paid reporter and, according to a comment from ESPNU in a Washington Post article, has a “very loose affiliation” with the network.

A student reporter at the University of Alabama made a name for herself Thursday morning, but not for any good reason. Marisa Martin, a ESPNU Campus Connection reporter, took to social media to express her opinions regarding the Florida State University campus shooting that occurred just after midnight Thursday morning.

Martin tweeted, “reported gunman on the FSU campus. Maybe he is heading for Jameis” in reference to the FSU quarterback who has been in the spotlight for both on-field and off-field action. Immediately she received criticism from followers and responded with: “Since apparently I cant make a joke in all seriousness I hope everyone at FSU is safe & that the gunman is found. But I stand by my opinions.”

She has since deleted the tweets and is claiming her account was hacked.

Whether in college or not, Martin’s actions should concern all journalists. Are our future journalists too comfortable with social media? Is social media enabling hasty and opinionated reporting?

Given the context of the situation, it would have been inappropriate for anyone to tweet something even semi-offensive, let alone an aspiring reporter working for one of the most prominent news outlets. Joking or not, college students, especially those entering the journalism field need to think twice before posting on social media.

Make that three times, just for good measure.