Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook enable anyone and everyone to speak their mind, engage in conversation, and gather information. In a sphere that seemingly has no guidelines, how can news reporting maintain accuracy and objectivity, while simultaneously distributing engaging information?
With many different opinions concerning the proper use of social media in the newsroom, I believe it should remain quite simple; render fact and social opinion in an interactive way. The way that journalists can accomplish this varies in regards to the context and angle of the information being shared, who is involved, as well as the public opinion.
We now have the opportunity to gather and mass communicate information quicker than through traditional media use. Journalists can present “a variety of perspectives rather than an emphasis on balancing a few alternatives” Daniel Bennet writes for bbc.co.uk.
image credit: roymorejon.com
I believe the use of social media brings news reporting to another level, going further into the social effects, where journalists’ can voice information in a different way. Breaking the barrier, objectivity is not accomplished through dissociation from opinion, but rather through the possibility of hearing all opinions and perspectives of given facts.
This definitely comes with challenges, accuracy being the front runner. In a sphere where swift timeliness is brings notoriety, precision is sometimes discarded. I believe that first and foremost the news must remain verified and factual, but how better than to help distribute this information than to invite the community to read, share, comment, and become part of the experience.
On a personal level I do engage with news organizations of my social media platforms, sharing articles, tweets, and links, as well as retweeting, commenting, asking further questions that arise or weren’t answered, giving my opinion. I feel like I participate, and possibly change the perception of others that may be asking similar questions, or understanding the information in different ways.
I believe journalists should ask engaging questions from a professional and neutral standpoint, bringing others to express their opinions and starting a conversation. Journalists should also use the reach of their followers to bring activity to the news sites that have the full story by sharing, retweeting and promoting the full content/stories/videos. Journalists need to be careful however when expressing their own opinion, doing so in a constructive and open way that remains as neutral as possible, especially when reporting under a corporate banner. Their personal platform may be better suited for more fixed opinions.
Obviously journalists are professionals and should remain so on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Don’t be a twit, your image is at stake and that of the companies you work for also. Posts should always be intelligible and stay true to the persona you adopt through all other media forms.
This being said, I believe that corporate rules or guidelines could apply when accuracy and verification is implied, yet reporters should be able to express themselves freely with respect to their journalistic integrity. I believe there is a neutral balance when engaging with the public in a way that encourages conversation and maintaining impartiality.
I use and will continue to use social media to cover the news, and give people the possibility of interaction with something that was for too long told to them, and is now shared…Together.