THV Insider: Social Media and Journalism

    7:56 PM, Oct 5, 2010   |    comments
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    By social media, we are referring to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

    Yesterday, a TV news staffer in Salt Lake City, Utah, accidentally tweeted this: "I'm downtown eating. Surrounded by Mormons and repressed sexual energy."

    The staffer meant to send it out on a personal Twitter account. Instead, it went out on the TV station's news account. The employee resigned immediately.

    The situation raises the question of responsibility. As journalists, we are charged with reporting the news and holding the powerful accountable. It is a high calling, protected by the Constitution.
    As such, ethically, we hold ourselves to a higher standard, no matter the platform we're using to report.

    Take our Facebook page. There are more than 30,000 fans. Like our news operation, we use the page to find stories, get feedback, and source and gather information.

    Yet, it's social, interactive and part of a return-path in which you have a say in what we do.

    In fact, THV anchors have personal Facebook pages. But on those pages, we walk a tight rope between our personal lives, opinions, and views and our lives as public figures.

    You won't find any of us posting our political views or biased opinions about stories, but you will find links on our pages about stories we cover and even find personal information about our children and grandchildren.

    Social media however does highlight journalists' own struggle with neutrality and free speech, which is why we are cautious about any post on our personal Facebook pages or any tweet we may send.

    At the end of the day, we are journalists and know that we are held to a higher standard. And while we make mistakes, we do work hard to hold ourselves accountable.

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