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Social media guidelines in journalism


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This presentation was held by PD Dr. Wiebke Loosen, Julius Reimer, M.A., and Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt at the General Online Research Conference 2012 in Mannheim, Germany. It deals with an exploratory content analysis of 17 social media guidelines released by German, Swiss and Anglo-American news media organisations. The study focussed on the following questions:
- Do the guidelines regulate or advice journalists' private and/or professional use of social media?
- Which legal foundations and problems are addressed?
- Which role or activities of the audience are mentioned?
- Which journalistic activities (e.g. investigating, selection and observation of topics and events) are regulated and advised?

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Social media guidelines in journalism

  1. 1. Social Media Guidelines in Journalism PD Dr. Wiebke Loosen Julius Reimer, M.A. Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt GOR12 Mannheim, March 6th 2012
  2. 2. Agenda•  Background: social media and journalism•  Method and sample•  Categories•  Results•  Conclusion Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 2
  3. 3. Background: social media and journalism•  Social media are increasingly relevant for journalism à  New job descriptions (e.g. social media editor) à  New competencies (e.g. research methods, presentation formats) à  New work routines (e.g. community management) (see e.g. Williams et al. 2011; Singer 2010; Domingo et al. 2008)à Need to manage the different options to interact with the audience resp. the users•  One way: social media guidelines which advise or even regulate journalists’ social media activitiesà Relevant sources for studying how journalism tries to manage its extension to new communication spaces and practices Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 3
  4. 4. Method and sampleMethod •  Content analysis of SMGs of media organisations/newsroomsSample •  Publicly accessible: 9 (incl. 5 Anglo-American best practice examples) •  For internal use: 8 •  Total: 17 •  11 German, 2 British, 3 US-American, 1 Swiss •  4 newspapers, 11 broadcasters, 3 news agencies •  8 private organisations, 9 public service broadcasters Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 4
  5. 5. CategoriesPrivate and/or professional use Role/activities of the audience •  DialogueLegal foundations and problems •  Criticism/suggestions for improvement •  Copyright •  Identify topics •  Brands, logos, titles etc. •  Generate content •  Confidential Information/reputational damage Journalistic activities •  Ethical Problems •  Advertising/distributing of content •  Personal rights/data protection •  Investigating/fact-checking •  Protection of minors •  Transparency •  Observation of events/topics Intra-coder reliability ranged •  Selection of topics to be covered from .76 to .94 •  Editing of news content Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 5
  6. 6. ResultsPrivate and/or professional use (n=17) “Assume that your professional life and your Private and professional use 15 personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them.” Professional use only 1 Private use only 0 Not evident 1 “Everyone who works for XY must be mindful “Make clear in how far you are speaking as a that opinions he or she expresses may private person or as a journalist.” (transl.: JR) damage XY’s reputation as an unbiased source of news.” Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 6
  7. 7. ResultsLegal foundations and problems addressed (n=17) Copyright 15 Brands, logos, titles etc. 12 Confidential Information/ “Confidential and in-house information does not belong 11 reputational damage in public networks and fora.” (transl.: JR) Ethical problems 11 5 Anglo-American, 5 German, 1 Swiss SMG Personal rights/data protection 9 1 private org., 8 public service broadcasters Protection of minors 6 Only public service SMG Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 7
  8. 8. ResultsRole/activities of the audience (n=17) Dialogue 11 Criticism/ 8 suggestions for improvement Generate content 4 3 German public service broadcasters Identify topics 3 Only German SMG 4 guidelines do not mention any audience role or activity. Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 8
  9. 9. ResultsUse of social media for journalistic activities (n=17) “They can be valuable tools in disseminating news and Advertising/distributing of content 9 information.” Investigating/fact-checking 8 Transparency 7 Deliver “insight into our working routines” Observation of events/topics 6 “Participating in social media can help identify trends at an early stage […] or seize ideas for topics” (transl.: JR) Selection of topics to be covered 5 “Through their use of social media, users can influence the prioritisation of topics” (transl.: JR) Editing of news content 0 Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 9
  10. 10. Conclusion•  Hardly any differences between groups (countries; private and public service news media; newspapers, broadcasters and news agencies)•  Most guidelines address •  professional as well as private use of social media, •  copyright issues, confidential information and reputational damage, •  users as dialogue partners and critics rather than as creators of content, •  the distribution of content and investigating rather than the collective selection and production of news.•  Yet, differences between single SMGsà No profession-wide standards concerning social media activities of news organisations and journalists, so far Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 10
  11. 11. References•  Domingo, David/Thorsten Quandt/Ari Heinonen/Steve Paulussen/Jane B. Singer/Marina Vujnovic (2008): Participatory journalism practices in the media and beyond: An international comparative study of initiatives in online newspapers. In: Journalism Practice, vol. 2(3): 326-342.•  Singer, Jane B. (2010): Quality Control. Perceived effects of user-generated content on newsroom norms, values and routines. In: Journalism Practice, vol. 4(2): 127-142.•  Williams, Andy/Claire Wardle/KarinWahl-Jorgensen (2011): Have they got news for us? Audience revolution or business as usual at the BBC? In: Journalism Practice, vol. 5(1): 85-99. Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 11
  12. 12. Thank you for your attention. PD Dr. Wiebke Loosen Julius Reimer, M.A. Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt Hans-Bredow-Institut Warburgstraße 8-10 20354 @jpub20team Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 12