I can admit from the start that I personally haven’t engulfed myself in using Twitter and Facebook as tools to convey information. It’s not because I don’t believe that journalists shouldn’t use it, it’s just because I haven’t caught on to it just yet and I’m part of the “modern era”. Weird isn’t it?
Yes, I grab a newspaper every day and go on-line once in a while. The main obvious difference is that the news spread through social media arrives much quicker than the newspaper.
From what I can see, journalists shouldn’t limit themselves to print and broadcast. News organizations SHOULD NOT restrict their reporters to share information and engage with people. There’s always a little restriction that should be given because reporters still represent a news organization.
They shouldn’t be prohibited from asking the public what they think about a certain situation. Thus, a law such as not sharing any political information is something that should be allowed. What news organizations should do is tell the same stories they normally would on television. But the thing they should add to that is if they ever break a story is to go on social media and tell what they have uncovered and say more details are to come.
Journalists should share all their content while still remaining professional and objective because our jobs isn’t to tell our opinion but to report the facts. Seeking the opinion of the audience is also important because we find that information for the people first.
If ever you are stuck in a situation where your mayor (i.e.. Michael Bloomberg) http://gigaom.com/2011/05/03/social-media-policies-lets-talk-about-what-you-should-do/ impedes you from tweeting almost everything, you DO NOT follow those rules! A journalist has every right to express themselves and show the content they want in a professional way.
The three things journalists must do are the following:
1) Share content
2) Engage discussion with the public ( you are reporting to them not you)
3) Keep sharing information
To convince a news organization to use social media as a power tool is not always easy. They prefer the old fashion ways. Don’t give up! Social media has many advantages.
The biggest advantage is that the information you are spreading out there gets to your audience much quicker than preparing the 6 o’clock news. Also, you can update the story you broke in matte of seconds. Thirdly, your audience can react to it which is good because the opinion of people does matter.
You are not a robot reporter; you are human and the fear of making mistakes on social media is not fun. But remember you are human.
In the end, social media makes you work with people and see what truly matters to them!
One last tip as a journalist: we all have our private accounts and like to post silly things, but don’t forget you are constantly watched and people rely on you! Just don’t be stupid! http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/simple-guidance-on-social-media-what-you-should-do-not-prohibitions/