Social media etiquette for journalists: how the rules have changed


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Ever since Facebook and Twitter emerged as key tools for news, journalists and newsrooms have performed a high-wire act: They need to use social media to engage their audience in new and inventive ways, while also maintaining ethical standards.

Achieving that balance has been rocky for many reporters, and several have faced serious consequences for speaking their minds in 140 characters or less.

But some practices that were frowned upon in the early days of social media engagement are no longer verboten, according to top social media editors who participated on the panel “Social Media Debate: Best Practices vs. Bad Habits” at the Online News Association’s 2012 conference in San Francisco. Associated Press social media editor Eric Carvin was the moderator.

Here are the social media points of etiquette that have changed the most in recent years:

The decline of “the view from nowhere”

The notion that journalists should only spit out facts and headlines has been replaced by the idea that it’s acceptable to have a point of view and show some personality.

“If you asked me two years ago, I would [have] said, ‘No, a journalist should not have an opinion on Twitter,’ ” said Niketa Patel, social media product manager for CNN Money. But now her thinking has changed. “We are humans, too. We do have opinions. I think as long as you’re not controversial about it, or you’re not overly trying to make a statement, then I think it’s OK…to have somewhat of an opinion,” she said.

For Liz Heron, social media director at The Wall Street Journal, journalists are at their best on social media when they offer analysis and context instead of just the straight story.

Deleting tweets is up for debate Leer más “Social media etiquette for journalists: how the rules have changed”

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