Social Media is now an integral part of every major news organization. On nearly every online newspaper or news video, there is a comment section. Users can discuss what they read/watched and editors and authors can give comments. Blogs and twitter are also an important source of newsgathering. It would be hard pressed to find a journalist without a twitter account.
Twitter and other social media allow accessible breaking news and offer unique opportunities to engage with the public. However, social media can be a destructive force leading to widespread misinformation and inappropriate comments. Many news organizations now provide strict rules for their employees limiting them for commenting or displaying any personal opinions.
By following this set of guidelines, journalists should be able to use social media to its fullest potential.
- Interact and Engage.
Be social on social media. This does not mean start a conversation with everyone, but if something interests you and you want to know more or have something relevant to say, SAY IT. Not only does it market you as a knowledgeable person and a good writer, it also can lead into an great exchange of information.
- Reach Out.
People like being involved. If you need sources, social media can be an effective way to obtain them. Just ask Jason DeRusha.
- Link, Link, Link.
If you saw something that interested you and would interest your viewers, show them. Simple as that. Also, retweet retweet retweet.
- Think before you post.
Anytime you write something, think to yourself:
Is all my information correct?
Who will see this?
Am I offending anybody?
What will be the Consequences of this post.
Am I drunk? (If your answer is “Yes”, definitely don’t post it!)
Remember: No posts you make can really be deleted. There is always a Cache.
- Don’t Respond to Trolls.
Attention seeking behavior should not be reinforced. Leave them be. Delete or report the comments if necessary.
- Be Transparent (not literally).
Let the readers know your affiliations and opinions. Don’t blur the line between facts and ideas. Admit when you are wrong.
- Don’t Be Stupid
New York Times editor, Liz Heron, said it best.