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Journalism 2.0: Social Media Ethics


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This presentation was given in February 2011 at the Iowa Newspaper and Wisconsin Newspaper Conventions.

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Journalism 2.0: Social Media Ethics

  1. 1. Journalism 2.0: Social media ethics Nathan T. Wright / Lava Row
  2. 2. @nathantwright
  3. 3. Today we’ll talk policy, personal vs. professional, and social media as a research tool. What else can I answer for you?
  4. 4. Social media policy: The key ingredients
  5. 6. Yes, social media is a workplace distraction. Deal with it. <ul><ul><li>(So are smoke breaks, restroom breaks, the water cooler, gossip, magazines, newspapers, personal phone calls, texting, solitaire, instant messaging, email, eBay, fantasy sports leagues and the three martini lunch.) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 9. Introduce the purpose of social media Define social media. Focus on what employees can do vs. can’t do. Identify the opportunities. Identify consequences for negative behavior. 1.
  7. 10. Respect copyrights and fair use Know current copyright and intellectual property laws. Give credit where credit is due. Understand attributions and creative commons. 2.
  8. 11. Creative Commons
  9. 12. With the personal use of social networks, conflicts may arise Clear division between news pages & personal pages. Information you disclose should not do damage. Editorial staff should not indicate political allegiance. 3.
  10. 13. Social media participation as a journalist Staff may edit online encyclopedias (Wikipedia) – but be transparent when doing it. Staff may respond to negative criticism of their organization, but not remove it. 4.
  11. 14. Personal vs. professional From the BBC: “Blogs, microblogs and other personal websites which do not identify the author as a BBC employee, do not discuss the BBC and are purely personal would fall outside this guidance.” 5.
  12. 15. Personal vs. professional (continued…) From the BBC: “New and existing blogs, microblogs and other personal websites which do identify the author as a BBC employee should be discussed with your line manager to ensure that due impartiality and confidentiality is maintained.” 5.
  13. 17. Your own policy: The key ingredients
  14. 18. THE BRAND OF YOU (photo via adampniak /
  15. 19. <ul><li>Balancing personal and professional presence online is a matter of choice and comfort level. </li></ul><ul><li>The Brand of You (Personal Branding): how you present yourself to the world, online and off. </li></ul><ul><li>It's okay to show your personality when communicating professionally - just remember to communicate with a focus. </li></ul><ul><li>Use common sense. Think carefully about your comments and responses that you post and interaction that you have, considering how they'll be interpreted. </li></ul><ul><li>Personal accountability: You are in control of what you publish and where - take responsibility for your actions. </li></ul>
  16. 20. Have you Googled yourself lately?
  17. 21. 1.26 billion search engine queries every day, globally. - Piper Jaffray & Co. Google has 72% of all U.S. searches. - Hitwise, October 2008 “ Your reputation is shaped by ten blue links on a white background.” - Andy Beal
  18. 24. Julio Ojeda-Zapata @jojeda on twitter
  19. 25. What not to do:
  20. 26. Social media as a research tool
  21. 27. Majority of journalists now depend on social media for story research 89% use blogs. 65% use social networking sites. 52% use micro-blogging sites. 61% use Wikipedia. 84% said social media sources were less reliable than traditional media. CISION, January 2010 -
  22. 28. How are Journalists using SM? <ul><li>Track down sources – who witnessed an event? </li></ul><ul><li>Gather user-generated content. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for tips or trends that may form a story. </li></ul><ul><li>Share links (additional point of entry). </li></ul><ul><li>Get the pulse of how the public is reacting to an event. </li></ul>
  23. 29. 2010 Associated Press Stylebook The new Social Media Guidelines section includes information and policies on using tools like Facebook and Twitter, how journalists can apply them to their work and how to verify sources found through them. Also included are 42 separate entries on such terms as app, blogs, click-throughs, friend and unfriend, metadata, RSS, search engine optimization, smart phone, trending, widget and wiki.
  24. 33. Journalism 2.0 questions: <ul><li>Should you use citizen-generated material that you can't 100% verify? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you source social media? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you curate or partake of social media 'conversations' without diluting your value as a journalist? </li></ul>
  25. 34. Matthew’s “Line of Verification” The Light Side The Dark Side Concept via @mattsays, BBC News: Confirmed stuff that the news org has defined as “true” Unconfirmed stuff that the news org can’t verify by two independent sources (non-reportable)
  26. 35. &quot; We need to change our reporting activity to engage with 'stuff' on the dark side of the line as part and parcel of our daily journalism . Social media unleashes the capacity of people to publish and share rumour, lies, facts and factoids. We - as a trusted broadcaster (along with other journalists of course) - become increasingly significant as a reference or clearing house, filtering fact from fiction.“ - Charlie Beckett, Director @ media think-tank POLIS
  27. 36. Search Twitter for keywords and hashtags
  28. 38. Vetting sources via social media <ul><li>Apply the same rules you already use </li></ul><ul><li>Never lift quotes, photos or video </li></ul><ul><li>Reach out (most SM sites allow this) </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm identity (@BPglobalPR, @KennethColePR) </li></ul><ul><li>Go old school – pick up a phone or knock on a door. </li></ul>
  29. 42.
  30. 43. Real – or hoax?
  31. 44. BP’s mad Photoshop skillz
  32. 45. How do you spot a fake?
  33. 46. Context Hints <ul><li>How long has the account existed? </li></ul><ul><li>Who did the person first ‘follow’ or ‘friend’?  </li></ul><ul><li>Who first followed them? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has spoken to them online? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has spoken about them? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you correlate this account with others? </li></ul><ul><li>Check </li></ul>
  34. 50. [email_address] @nathantwright 515.554.0502 Thank you.