Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Don't be stupid"

Sarah Holt

The New York Times, one of the most prestigious and recognized news sources in the country has one social media guideline, "Don't be stupid." It makes me laugh, kind of makes me cringe and really makes me scratch my head. Is it that simple? Honestly, while I don't doubt the NYT on its reporting---this may just seem a bit too basic to be true.

Is It That Simple?
It's almost like saying, well just don't trip...ever. Even if you are walking down a steep incline made of metal with sticks of butter attached to your feet--just don't trip. That's the way social media can be. "Be cautious," may be a better phrase. Or perhaps, "always be alert." Because in such uncharted territory, stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. And, something can only be deemed stupid after it has been tested and tried and then subsequently failed.

I'm sure the teacher that friended his students didn't think he was being stupid. I'm also sure that the reporter that live-tweeted a court case and misspelled a name or messed up fact didn't think he/she was being stupid. It's not until after these mistakes are made that we know what not to do. Therefore I firmly believe that the guidelines set in place by organizations such as RTDNA serve a purpose. These guidelines were made from others mistakes--and they are mistakes that hopefully won't be made again.

Social Media Flexes Its Muscles
Social media is such a powerful tool. One wrong step can land a news station, a company or a public figure on the wrong side of the public perception. Therefore just saying, "don't be stupid," just doesn't cut it. Let's use a specific example of the power of social media. We news people know all about the Egyptian revolution and perhaps we may even be savvy enough to know about the hashtag #jan25 (marking the day that the revolution started), but do we know just how many times it has been used?
Above is a map of every tweet with the hashtag #jan25 on February 11th, the day Mubarak resigned. That is one single days worth of tweets containing only one hashtag.

We Have to Be Careful
With that kind of power in one single social media outlet, our criteria has to go so much further than "don't be stupid." It's an important tool that gives so much power. And we all know how the saying goes, "with great power, comes great responsibility."

Social Media: Complicating or Simplifying Journalism/Society?

By Natalie Knoth

Journalists use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to post breaking news stories, as well as to interact with friends and family. But where is the line drawn between personal and professional? Should journalists expunge any evidence of political affiliations from their Facebook profiles? What about interacting with sources on Facebook? In an industry that endorses transparency, does it follow that journalists need not worry about their image on their personal websites?

Particularly for those journalists with open profiles on Facebook and Twitter, any and all information listed can be evidence of a bias in reporting. For example, a reporter "likes" a particular politician running in an election and writes stories about said election. The question is not whether a journalist who favors a politician should be allowed to write a story about the election, because we all have biases. But by revealing any political leanings on a social media site, journalists are opening themselves to attacks on their credibility.

Social media sites have been the subject of much controversy outside the journalism world as well. According to an article on TIME magazine’s website, even “friends only” posts might be used against parties in court. The article cited the McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway case in which, according to an attorney cited in the article, “the court ordered the disclosure of the Facebook password of one of the parties so that access could be gained by the other side to the revelant Facebook account." But in a different case, Piccolo v. Paterson, the court struck down a request to sift through Facebook posts for information relevant to the case.

While some users may find it troubling that supposedly private updates could be revealed to the public, the fact remains that Facebook, as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Myspace, are all social networking sites. As such, the user must be aware that information isn’t all that private – even if it is purportedly private under Facebook classifications. Journalists must be particularly aware of their actions on social media sites, as they are representing a news organization – even if they do not mean to be, as is the case when journalists are interacting on their personal pages.

Perhaps the safest bet is not to post anything sensitive, crude, demeaning, offensive, or unsightly. But where does the First Amendment come into play? And shouldn't journalists be afforded the same liberty to voice their opinions as any other people, particularly when their profession is based on freedom of speech? Clearly, social media raises many questions about the media industry – questions that will likely remain unresolved for quite a while.

"Journalism is About Listening"

"Journalism is About Listening"
Brittany Bell


Each day journalists face the task of knowing the "breaking" news fast, and better yet, first. To know this type of groundbreaking information, there are many tools used. Some journalists use face-to-face sources while others use investigative clues. But there are also those who sit at the comfort of their Smart phones or iMacs, quickly tapping into updated information via Twitter and Facebook while on-the-go. But does having a Facebook/Twitter while also upholding a career as a journalist cross the moral line of ethics? And when do these sites become too personal, if at all?

Tweet Your Heart Out

In the assigned reading called "The Limits of Control" by Pamela Podger, one journalist, Monica Guzman of seattlepi.com, shared her opinion on mixing social networking with her journalism career. "Journalism is about listening, so if you're not listening to people who are talking, then you're not doing your job."

Podger, I believe, is correct but only for situations similar to hers. She says that her tweets and Facebook updates help add information to her stories, and also help the readers better understand her viewpoints. But do the same guidelines follow for a news columnist who must restrain from revealing his/her viewpoints?


According to an article from the University of Texas, social networking isn't the worst thing a journalist can do, but they must be weary of upholding journalism ethics code and also the consequences that reside if these ethics are not followed.

One example of the negative aspects of journalists on social media sites is when they reveal breaking news via Facebook/Twitter first, rather than on the website of their workplace. Cory Bergman, a blogger for LostRemote, agrees.

"My recommendation would be for reporters to quickly tip their newsrooms first and tweet second — without waiting for the story to appear on the site. First is first, regardless of where it’s posted. Then follow up with a tweet with a link when the story is posted."

A video posted by social media journalist, Jeff Cutler, also gives insight on how to keep Facebook and Twitter clean.

Facebook Devil on One Shoulder, Journalism Ethics Angel on the Other

So if you're caught up in the modernization of social networking but must remain unbiased, where do you turn? At poynter.org, there's a How-To article on "Social Networking for Journalists." The site not only helps privatize your statements on social networking sites, but also highlights the pro's of using these sites. In fact, one of the biggest advantages the article outlines is that social networking sites help find more sources which leads to new information. When it all boils down to it, poynter.org practically reiterates what Monica Guzman had said about Twitter and Facebook- that they help journalists to listen, which is their main job. So whether journalists are actually "listening" on Twitter and Facebook, or just merely reading tweets and updates from others, these journalists are somewhat ahead of the game.... as long as their tweets and updates don't become too personal or negatively impact their readers.

Social Media & The Fashion Industry: Adding Flair while Following the "Law"?

Catherine Caldwell


Instead of lusting after the latest haute couture Paris runway costume, the fashion industry is embracing social media as the year’s hottest trend. With the rise of online, face-of-the-brand personas, such as Oscar PR Girl for Oscar de la Renta (@OscarPRGirl) and DKNY PR Girl for Donna Karan New York (@DKNY), social media is adding a personal touch (and a pump of diva-like personality) to some of the world’s most famous luxury fashion houses.

Mashable’s article, “How the fashion industry is embracing social media,” cited that the most noteworthy New York Fashion Week conversations occurred online using the hash tag #nyfw. Why? “People want to feel connected,” says Kelly Cutrone, fashion publicist and executive producer of a reality TV series on Bravo.

According to the CBS news article “Fashion forward: New York brands take on social media,” these innovative social media techniques used by the likes of DKNY, Kate Spade and Oscar de la Renta, allow everyone from journalists, to retail gurus, to people who are just plain interested in fashion, to voice their opinions on the latest runway trends.

Social media is an invaluable tool for fashion brands and retailers," says Rachel Strugatz, online editor for Women's Wear Daily. "Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, blogs or branded editorial content, maintaining a dialogue with fans and consumers through authentic and engaging content is paramount in achieving success within the digital realm."

The CBS article continues with further examples. “Ignoring the Internet [and social media] is madness,” says designer Diane von Furstenberg. “We decided to have a presence because it was a very organic way for us to communicate online. And yes, we think about [transparency] but don’t worry too much. We try to keep the focus on the clothes that are in the store, or buy now and wear now, not what is on the runway. But people will always get access to that as well.”

Oscar PR Girl’s Twitter bio reads: “PR girl for Oscar de la Renta reporting from the inside of one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.” Her profile is complete with a cute caricature of her in a green dress. DKNY’s twitter account follows a similar profile structure. Oscar PR Girl even has her own Tumblr blog, http://oscarprgirl.tumblr.com/, where she posts mainly Oscar de la Renta-related photos with personal muses.

Tumblr's fashion director, Rich Tong, cites Kate Spade and Oscar de la Renta as “two of the strongest examples of fashion brands leveraging Tumblr to its fullest potential.” Tong states, "Oscar PR Girl uses an approachable tone of voice like a friend, and Kate Spade NY utilizes its extraordinary design and content. Each brand creates original content that is specific to their Tumblr audiences."

What is most intriguing to an online observer is that some of Oscar PR Girl’s tweets and posts have nothing to do with Oscar de la Renta at all. Today, for example, one of her tweets read: “Interests: fashion, technology.”

Oscar de la Renta is, in a sense, humanizing its avant-garde fashion line, making the brand accessible to all audiences via Oscar PR Girl. And with nearly 69,500 Twitter followers, it is clear that Oscar PR Girl holds a lot of klout in successfully engaging a niche audience.

As much as I am a fan of Oscar PR Girl’s work, I must wonder how these innovative, some may say guerilla-like, marketing tactics stack up against ethical social media and blogging guidelines. While the amount of online content makes setting a standard difficult, there are core journalistic values that must be upheld whether on- or off-line.

After looking through Oscar PR Girl's Tumblr photos and seemingly irrelevant, although entertaining, tweets, I do wonder what unusual guidelines a fashion empire would place for their prominent PR girl to follow…. In a lifestyle centered on luxurious parties, cocktails, events, sales, socializing and dressing to impress, how does one reign supreme without bending the rules?

While I may never know the answer, a Mashable article, “Social Media Ethics: 4 Common Dilemmas,” does an excellent job of citing four ethical concerns to address before posting content on the Internet.

1. The fine line of spamming: While Oscar PR Girl does promote Oscar de la Renta, she balances these links and promotional messages with value for the user. She has, for example, replied to one of my tweets and appears to appropriately answer Twitter users’ questions

2. Feuds with others: Simple enough to follow; yet, it is still surprising to me how many people use social media to vent their emotions. Thankfully, I have yet to see this in Oscar PR Girl’s feed.

3. Lying: Transparency is key. Plus, it’s much easier to get caught lying over Twitter. Oscar PR Girl appears to tweet truth.

4. Misrepresentation: Be transparent, and don’t use a brand name unless you have the rights to it. I think the Oscar gal is in the clear here…

While these are just a few of the ethical concerns Oscar de la Renta’s Twitter passes, that does not mean the brand is safe. After all, once something is online, it’s online. While Oscar PR Girl has yet to face a scandal, the true test will come when she is forced to react and respond under heavy media fire.

Formally Known as Zo Murda

Lorenzo Washington -- lw925107@ohio.edu

Yea believe it or not that was my myspace and first facebook name. Well until facebook became so "sophisticated". Originally I was a myspace junky. I loved the fact that you could have music on your mypscae page. The top ten friends and the background images. I’ll be the first to admit that it took me a while kick the habit for Zuckerberg. But my intentions were pure and of the adolescents. I just wanted to have unlimited pictures. Sure I would miss the music, but I couldn’t turned down the unlimited access to G.I.B. (girls in bikinis) that girls where posting. So I crossed over. Just for leisure. I was only a 10th grader at the times.

I used to just have about 100 fb friends and the features where limited to wall and album posting

5 years later…

I held 5 jobs since the day I turned 16 and 4 of my 5 employees use facebook now. My buddy list expanded to well over 1,000 people. —which still amazes me because I have about 200 contacts on my cell phone , counting pizza huts, movie phone, d.p doughs, etc. and I probably only use 35 of them. Now there’s relationship statuses, event invitations, marketing pages.


After I graduated high school I had a dream that I would be a reporter/anchor in a newsroom somewhere. But when I would in vision this dream I saw this a being a 9-5 ordeal. I think about it now and the field of journalism has turned into a 24-hour job.

As if we aren’t under the most scrutiny of any profession already fb just enhanced the playing field. Between friends, employers, colleagues, there’s always somebody reading what you post. I had no idea that facebook was going to age in dog years.

And don’t even get me started on twitter. The page is like a journalist’ playgrounds, but at the same time can be a journalistic biggest nightmare, while that be you or somebody else. 250 characters to get your point across. Needless to say, a lot of room for error there.

Twitter slip-up

So now what? Do we need a code of ethical for the Internet?


I don’t like the idea. Why is that I have to be a journalist 24-hours-a day-7-days-a-week? Why do I always have to be impartial? The public always complains that journalist aren’t human enough, they can’t related to us, but at the same time they want us to be unbiased. It is not natural to be unbiased. Sometimes we want to rant too.

I hope that fb, twitter, etc can just slow down their growth for a little bite. Maybe go back to their roots. Strictly entertainment. Maybe I want to have my cake and eat it too, but I just hope that when I get a real job I don’t have to triple check things that I say in my spare time.

The Multi-Faceted Landscape that is Today’s Journalism

Joshua Taylor

Personal and Professional

A minority of students that I have spoken to can include their private Facebook among their resume and show it to employers. Some students change their name to be different so that they can not be located as easily, and some just make it completely private to non friends.

Personally, I keep my main profile clean and professional. There is too fine of a line between private social media space and public display for me to feel comfortable any other way. I even go the extra mile such that I include my Facebook URL on my resume with my website and my blog URLs.

I’d like to say that, because of this, I take advantage of the power of social media.

One site that not everyone might use or know about is “Tumblr” and it is an organized online blogging community and it is worth checking out @ www.Tumblr.com.

Tweeting Towards Tomorrow
You can tell who is a productive social media user and who is not, or rather, who is a lame duck instead, by the content of their social media history. Productive tweeters tweet about current issues, political issues and work towards increasing an agenda. Lame duck tweeters stick to their trending hash tags and talk about #oldpeoplesnames or #ICouldntLiveWithout and read the countless other tweets about the same issues.

If one is a productive tweeter, they may actually change something. Check out this story. Egyptian protestors battled for their rights with social media and gained ground on their oppressors.

See the story here.... www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=769

This is an example of what you can do with Social Media.

Watch what you tweet!

Some UK twitter users who whistle blew or gossiped about famous celebrities have had their private information revealed by Twitter! Be careful you don’t get superinjuncted by Twitter by reading the story : Tweets get people into trouble!

Closing Thoughts
This photograph pretty much sums up my point.

So, be cordial and professional in your social media, don’t believe everything you hear, tweet with purpose and keep your head up!

Does Social Media Mean Social Suicide?

A few years ago, when I was a senior in High School, I got a Facebook. At first I didn’t post much, and I primarily used it to “creep” on my classmates. Shortly after the fascination of creeping wore off, I began making myself more noticeable on Facebook. It quickly became fun posting photos, wall posts, and commenting on other people’s profiles. Because I was in High School, I wasn’t posting anything inappropriate, just pictures of my friends and I goofing off.

But when I got to college, it was a completely different story. Instead of taking the high school-ish pictures, it was a different scene. Pictures were now at parties. And at these parties, there was drinking

I truly did not think anything of it. I figured I was only a freshman in college, and I had plenty of time to worry about privatizing my Facebook for an employer.

It was until I got my first internship at WTAE in Pittsburgh when I realized just how important a journalist’s privacy is. Thankfully, I was smart enough to have the settings on my Facebook all set as private. Some interns were not as lucky.

A couple of us were sitting there in the newsroom one day when one of the producers said he was going to look us all up on Facebook. I instantly panicked and thought about all my drinking photos that I had right on my homepage. How stupid could I have been? Well, it was too late to do anything about it now.

Fortunately, my Facebook was not accessible because of the privacy settings, but another intern’s was. She had the same type of photos that I had – and they were visible to everyone. The utter embarrassment on her face as the producer clicked through her photos was enough for me to delete every photo I ever put on the Internet.

When it comes to social media, Journalists are held at a much higher standard. Sure, everyone drinks and everyone parties time to time, but when a person is in the public eye, it is completely necessary to alter his or her online behavior.

It may not be fair, but it is a price we have to pay as Journalists. In the public spotlight, it is essential to be objective and filter your own personal social media tools.

The Power of Social Media

Kristi Ludlow
This video demonstrates how much reach social media has and will have in the future. With social media coming to the forefront of our society, it is unavoidable and necessary for news organizations to capitalize and use this tool. The big question that many journalists are facing though is how to use it and how often?
The various articles we read for this week’s class are beginning to map out guidelines for using social media. But even with new guidelines popping up, situations in the newsroom continue to arise on how to navigate these new waters.
The RTDNA article does a good job of outlining some social media and blogging guidelines. The bottom line, in my opinion, is to treat social media and blogs like what you would produce for traditional media. The content should be true and transparent and follow basic ethical guidelines as well. What a reporter puts on twitter is just as important as what he or she puts on-air or in newspapers….both are reflections of the media outlet. For examples, information should be credited and everything should be grammatically correct. A media outlet is constantly creating an image and when the image being put forth on twitter or facebook is not the same that is being put on air, that image takes a hit.
There are countless examples of how social media is being used to spread news in a big way. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has driven a huge social media dialogue to help raise money for victims. And when Osama Bin Laden’s death was announced, it created a twitter frenzy about the topic spreading the news like wildfire across the world.
It will be interesting to see how this growing media continues to shape how journalists convey the news. The only thing I know is I will be right there helping carve the path.

The Dangers of Being Social in a Digital World

Mallory Knight


As a journalist, one must take special precautions when choosing to dial in to the ever-growing social media trend. Even though social networking sites are “increasingly blurring the lines between professional and personal” (Limits of Control) it is the responsibility of the journalist to make sure that no lines are crossed. Journalists must maintain the same professional and ethical standards they do in the newsroom as they do on their social networking sites online. It is important that they maintain a professional image while in the public eye, as to not embarrass the entire newsroom.

As a public relations professional social media has been becoming an ever increasingly more important tool or trend to use in order to communicate to your targeted audience. Sites like The Social Media Examiner help journalists and public relations professionals attain a better grasp on social media and the correct way in which to use it. According to SustainableJournalism.org social media can be a good thing if it used in order to maintain transparency.

It is not only journalists, public relations professionals and advertisers that need to concern themselves with their online conduct. It is every professional that needs to concern himself or herself with how they conduct themselves online. In most professions it is important to maintain some level of professionalism that is distinct from your personal life. On October 4, 2010 Solomon Lederer, a software developer, was fired from his job for participating in an online social network without prior permission from his employer. Lederer’s employer decided to make an example out of him and terminated him upon learning of his online endeavors. Bellow is a video from Gothamist about Lederer.

It is important to remember as any professional what you place online is permanent and will always be there for eyes to see. If you post something inappropriate there will be repercussions.

"A Fundamental Shift in the way we Communicate"

Jordan Siler

Social media has caused a revolution of mass proportions. As a active member of the social media, I rarely have to go out in search of news or the breaking headlines. Far too often I have learned of major events by logging onto Facebook and reading my friend's statuses. However, as a journalist, social media brings forth a new ethical dilemma, unlike ones we've seen before. And not only are we as journalist being affected. In this article by the Boston Globe, a teacher was fired from his position after friending students on Facebook. I know that in my high school, we had many teachers who were and still are friends with their students on Facebook. As professionals, were is the line drawn and how far can one go with social media before it crosses an ethical line?

I think it is important to maintain a presence on social media and to have that presence be professional. If one were to have two Facebook pages, like Cheryl Rossi from the assigned reading, I think it would eliminate the need to worry. Friends and family should be allowed to be inside your head. Professional colleges or even sources on the other hand, should be presented with the most professional face. It should also be disclosed that you have two Facebook's. In case anyone hasn't noticed, many professors are pushing the importance of social media in our journalism classes (running twitter feed anyone?). Journalism schools across the country have had to alter the way they teach their specific subject due to the rapidly changing technology and social media.

Social media seems inevitable in a career based on communications. The best thing you can do is keep the same ethics codes you use for print and reshape them to fit Facebook or twitter.

Mendenhall tweets stir controversy

By Rob Ogden

With the invention of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, fans are more connected to athletes than they ever have been before.

This raises the question, is it ethical to report on and criticize what players say on their social networking sites? Some believe that if an athlete posts it on their site, then it is fair game. Others believe it is an invasion of the athlete’s privacy.

After the death of Osama bin Laden was reported, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall posted this comment on his Twitter:

"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side ... "

Mendenhall then posted these comments:

"I'm not convinced he was even behind the attacks we have really seen no evidence to prove it other than the gov telling us."

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Mendenhall’s tweets received a lot of publicity and created quite a bit of controversy.

He later tried to clarify his tweets but it was too late. While some people believed he was entitled to sharing his own opinion, others criticized Mendenhall heavily.

In the wake of the tweets, Mendenhall lost his endorsement deal with Champion.

The sporting goods company released this statement:

Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall, who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed.”

This leaves me to question whether Mendenhall would have lost his endorsement deal had the media never made such a big deal out of it.

While Mendenhall’s beliefs were certaintaintly unconventional, were they really worthy of all the negative consequences?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? That is the Question.

Katelyn Liff


In our current world, news and information are right at our fingertips. We no longer have to wait until 5 o’clock to get news of the happenings of the world. Although this is beneficial because people can be instantly updated, it also creates problems for journalists and newsrooms. In an age where anyone can blog, tweet, or comment about any possible subject how does social media fit into the lives of journalists?

In the article The Limits of Control, it discusses how many newsrooms are dealing with the complications that social media brings. Journalists now have to question whether their posts and tweets will conflict with their ethical codes of being journalists. Making opinionated statements could lead them into troubled water. If they make comments concerning a political party, they may be instantly labeled as biased. Many people may then question whether they are able to write a story without this unintentional bias slipping into their story. Journalists now have to consider how everything they write on their blogs and social media sites could be taken by the outside world.

Although social media has opened up an entire world for journalists to discover and utilize when writing stories, guidelines need to be implemented. In the Poynter article, companies are now having to make sure their employees are not “friending” sources unnecessarily and using the information from their sites incorrectly. This could open up another can of worms because again, journalists need to also be careful what they post on their sites, because those sources could see the materials and take them the wrong way.

Even though journalists need to be wary when considering what they post on their sites, transparency is also key. Many newsrooms do not like the idea that journalists have multiple social media outlets, such as having a personal twitter and then a public twitter that they share with their coworkers and bosses. The companies question what their employees are doing and saying on their personal sites that they cannot publish to the world.

Along with the idea of transparency, in the article by the LA Times, major brands are finding that they need to respond quickly to complaints and any issues that arise that could hurt their brand names. They are finding that it is better to promptly respond then let rumors spread through the virtual world. As we have found, truth trumps in all journalistic elements. Therefore, it is important to react truthfully in order to help, instead of harm, the company.

What is that incessant twittering?

As a journalism student, all I hear lately is "social media." Everyone is in a titter about Twitter and Facebook and how we journalists are supposed to use them.

As someone who does not have a Twitter, I don’t really understand the purpose of having a personal account from which to tweet meaningless location updates or personal routines. Does anyone really want to know if I’m brushing my teeth?

But as a journalist, I understand the usefulness of Twitter for a newspaper, radio or television station. It is just another tool to get out the news to those who want it and should therefore be used to its full potential.

Alltop is a great website to find ways to use Twitter and other social media in a way that benefits readers. It has a link to something any media organization using Twitter should work out — when to tweet.

The problem with social media arises when asked how to deal with private information reaching your public audience. In the reading, an obvious solution came to the minds of many — separate accounts: one professional and one personal.

The problem with having separate accounts is, “Who are you on one page and who on another,” as said by Hal Straus, assistant managing editor for interactivity and communities at The Washington Post.

As journalists, we are all about transparency. But I disagree with Straus; our personal lives and our professional lives are separate for the most part.

A good journalist does not let personal bias control him or her in a professional setting. What we do outside work should be no reflection of how we perform our job. People should not be fired unless things get absolutely out of hand.

As journalists, we are all about freedom of speech and the First Amendment. But by limiting our social media presence in our personal life, media organizations are suppressing their employees’ right to speak freely. The hypocrisy is almost laughable.

John Nero, jn265708@ohio.edu

To tweet or not to tweet

By Wesley Lowery

For the last few years "social media" has been one of the most used and highly discussed media buzzwords. And while many outlets have started to establish social media policies, many are still debating just how reporters should use social media in thier reporting and in their personal life.

As I looked over the reading for today's class, I noticed two distinct mindsets. Some outlets want reporters to be constantly tweeting in order to provide up-to-the-minute updates, while other outlets only want reporters to use social media to distribute headlines and drive wire content.

I've seen these two attitudes at some of the papers where I've interned.

At the Columbus Dispatch, we were often encouraged to tweet updates on stories throughout the day. Some reporters, such as senior/investigative reporter Randy Ludlow use Twitter and Facebook to distribute articles and updates constantly.

Other papers and news services, including my summer employer The Wall Street Journal, encourage the usage of social media but also stress that it's important to not offer free information on social media that would typically be guarded behind the site's paywall.

Many newswires and pay-to-view media outlets — including Bloomberg News, Dow Jones Newswires and the Associated Press have similar guidelines,

Here is an excerpt from the revised social media guidelines released by Bloomberg earlier this year:

"We should not share work in progress or use social media as a vehicle for breaking news"

This is the one instance in which I both understand the policy of the wire service but personally practice a different policy. For most of my work at The Post, The Columbus Dispatch and The Detroit News, I used my personal twitter feed to break news and update stories throughout the day.

And while many newswires would only be cheapening their services if they used social media for breaking and developing news, I think most outlets need to embrace social media as the best way to reach their audience as quickly as possible.

This has become increasingly evident as social reform and citizen-led protests have captivated the U.S. as they take place in various countries overseas. Without Twitter and Facebook, these protests may never have happened and the media may never have known about them.

Here's one CNN analyst's take on the role of social media in covering international protests.
International news

I agree with the analyst. Social media is just another tool in a journalist's toolbox. News outlets need to take advantage of it or risk being passed up by competitors.

Is social media news? How could it not be?!

Katie Smith Ks185807@ohio.edu

For more than a couple of years now people have been debating whether or not social media is a legitimate news source, but my question has always been a little different: How could it not be?!

There are valid arguments describing the concern for lack of credibility and expertise involved in social media news, but more often than not social media websites break the news faster and reach more people than traditional news outlets. In a blog by Erin Everhart Webster describes journalism

as “the researching, reporting, and writing of news and information that appeals to popular taste.” Everhart then describes journalism as “telling people’s stories, about adding narrative and insight into peoples lives.” This argument supports the idea that stories are told through social media ever day. Does it matter that these stories come across in 500-word blog posts, or 3-line Facebook updates, or 140-character tweets?

Another argument to take into consideration when talking about social media news is the way companies are using it to reach their consumers. An article on socialmediaintelligence.com describes that 42% of shoppers have ‘followed’ a retailer through Facebook, Twitter or a retailer’s blog, and the average person follows about six retailers. Most people said they were looking to find good deals, but they also wanted to be kept up-to-date on future offers. This proves that companies are catching on to the idea that social media can help sales and the bottom line.

No matter what your views are on social media, an article from socialmediatoday.com brings up an excellent point: people are out there and they are talking about your brand. You can choose to ignore the conversation, but it will happen regardless and it will make an impression on your brand. Ignoring social media doesn’t make it go away! It is like a kid shoving all of his toys under the bed and pretending that he cleaned his room. It might work for the time being, but the problem comes when the public or in this case his mother looks under the bed and finds the neglect. This causes the public to lose trust in the brand, and notice the competitors that are using social media effectively.

To Censor Thyself?

Gretchen Raque

Since the birth of social media, journalists have had to face the challenge of how to approach the current news trends. With Twitter and Facebook it become very easy to weave ones own opinion into the news story one may be writing. But as journalism ethics confess, it is crucial to stay unbiased and neutral in all reporting and informing.

However, television stations such as E! and shows like Entertainment Tonight glamorize their reporting. These celebrity-like figures make popular Twitter followers and Facebook ‘friends.’ But then is it appropriate for these news reporters to combine their personal opinions with factual information?

Personally, when I tweet or post status updates I am conscientious of what I am saying. Sometimes I can be very opinionated but considering the career I hope to establish someday I would not want to tarnish my reputation. Through networking, and as shallow as it may seem, people rely heavily on the opinions of their friends and family about certain people. If one person can give you a good recommendation or say wonderful things about ones work ethic it will oftentimes take one father than their own resume may.

Think of it like getting ready for work in the morning—would a businessperson go to work in a t-shirt and jeans instead of a suit and tie? It would be inappropriate in a work setting. It’s the same way on Twitter. Everyone’s tweets are their own responsibility and the way the rest of Twitter nation views them and their online persona.

This brings up another issue—drunk tweeting. College students, celebrities and the average tweeter alike find it too easy to not filter their tweets when they are drinking. It makes it especially easy due to the easy accessibility with smart phones. For journalists, it is even more crucial to avoid this. If people are to trust a journalist as information carriers they want to trust them as an average person as well. It is as if every journalist is their own public relations representative and responsibility.

Social Media: Good or Bad for Journalists?

Lauren McGrath

Photo: Thought Quick blog

Years ago, news was simply delivered in print format. People had to wait until the morning to hear about the most recent events in the newspaper. When televisions became popular, broadcast news reports were added to the way readers consume their news. However, no one could have predicted the change technology and the internet in particular would have on news coverage.

While the internet has allowed media outlets to share their stories in another way, the emergence of social media has raised many questions for journalists and their employers.

Embrace the Changes

In an article on Statesman.com, Robert Quigley sings praises for the innovations the internet and social media have created for journalists. One of his main points is that the internet is supposed to enable a conversation between the author of an article and the reader. Forums and blogs allow interaction between the individuals as opposed to a newspaper where a person simply sees the authors name but has no further contact with him.

The Future of Social Media

An article on Mashable.com discusses the future of social media and its role within the journalism field. Author Vadim Lavrusik focuses on collaborative reporting and the role of the community within these changes. Social media has helped bridge the gap between community members and the media. Citizens can comment on Facebook walls or tweet during a city council meeting. Lavrusik doesn't think these methods are giving citizens a voice. Rather, he thinks these methods are finally giving citizens a way to have their voices heard.

What Can We Do?

Another article from Mashable.com discussed what journalism schools can do to teach social media. As a student at Ohio University, I think we do the first recommendation very well: promote content. So many of our student-run publications Facebook and tweet when they publish a new story or post new photos. My favorite tip is number 9, Ethics: Remember, you're still a journalist. If your job doesn't have a code of ethics for social media and blogging, consider talking to your boss or thinking twice before hitting publish. You can't take back something you said in the heat of the moment and it's important to remember you are not only representing yourself online but also your employer.

Make sure to check out the full article at Mashable.com to find out what we, as students and professors, should be focusing on in our careers as journalists.

The blurred line between personal and professional

Charlotte O'Malley
The internet has taken over. College students applying for jobs after college can expect a high probability of being interviewed by their potential employee via Skype, which I used at the beginning of college to keep in touch with high school friends. School organizations have started using Facebook to schedule “Events” necessary for their organization. Even Obama used Facebook propel his presidential campaign. It’s difficult to remember online activity before social networking. But can professionalism and websites like Facebook mix?

Not until the internet forged a path from being a speedy information provider to an outlet for an online persona did the internet become so omnipresent in our society. Before “smart phones” people would fiend for when they could return home to their computer to check their email or Facebook. Now they can do both while maintaining a conversation or sitting in class. I maintain that part of the reason the internet is such a strong force is because as a society we are impatient and there is an instant gratification element to being able to get the information that you want and need RIGHT NOW. The phenomenon really exploded when you could not only look up information about anything online, buy ANYONE as well.

In my high school, the social media trend progressed from diary-like posts on Xanga to Myspace, and finally came to a rest with Facebook. While Xanga obviously disclosed the most personal information due to the fact the site was used for personal journal posts, Myspace and Facebook gave the public an ability to create an identity online. They could be analogous to an aggregator for information about an individual person. What are their political beliefs? What are their religious beliefs? What is their sexual preference? What is their relationship status? Check Facebook. Furthermore, our employers will be checking up on us via Facebook as well.

I have a slight fear, especially being in the journalistic field, that my future employer will have it’s own Facebook page and Twitter feed that announce when the next staff meeting will be. These fears could be unfounded, but due to the impact social networking has had on our everyday lives, it doesn’t seem that big of a stretch. Professionalism and Facebook/Twitter shouldn’t mix since they so heavily touch on our personal lives. However, it is clear that despite this, we must think of the two together since so much information is available to the public eye. It is a reminder for me to keep my pages private, use discretion when I write a “status,” and de-tag that picture of me bonging a beer freshman year.

Finding an Identity Online

Amy Soga

Social media has become part of a lot of people's lives over the last few years and journalists are no different. Not only do journalists use social media for professional purposes, they also have personal lives as well. A reporter may want to share their opinion on something going on in the world on their Facebook wall, but have to censor themselves because of their job as a professional journalist and their responsibility to be neutral.

In the article Journalists and Social Media: How Far is Too Far? by Paul Gillin for SocialMediaToday Gillin states, "However, a journalists ability to behave in an impartial manner-even if he or she has an opinion-is a core skill of the profession." Being a journalist we know our responsibility to stay unbiased and write unbiasedly. Now, with social media a whole new set of guidelines have to be applied to the use of social media sites for journalists. Although most of these guidelines seem to be common sense, there also seems to be some aspects of social media that could still be a blur to a journalist. In the article Limits of Control by Pamela J. Podger, she states, "When do reporters "friend" sources? Do they risk revealing them? What if a source wants to friend a reporter?"

All of these questions are unique to social media sites and have become something that every newspaper and reporter has to think about. Our generation has grown up with technology at our fingertips and are always the first to try and use all of the new gadgets and sites. For us, the use of social media has become a way of life from personal to professional. Distinguishing how to use our social media presence for not only personal ways will be our next step.

One of the most important uses of social media is for news outlets and reporters. Being able to break a story the moment it happens via Twitter or writing a blog for your newspaper have become just another way to spread news to more and more people. In the article Journalist Views on Social Media's Influence on Reporting Differ by Beat, the article states, "Over two- thirds of lifestyle reporters, for example, said social media was having a negative impact on the accuracy of reporting in their area." Now because of social media journalists can break stories and have the upper hand on reporting news, but also the average citizen can report news as well and the accuracy of their stories can be poor.

In an article by Beth Pickhard, Fusion of Journalists and Social Media, Pickhard states, "Social media lends more to the branding of a person." Journalists have to find their own identity online and use then it in their reporting and coverage. Journalists need to brand themselves to gain readership and followers online for their reporting. Hiding behind their newspaper or magazine will not be beneficial in the social media world. Journalists have to walk the line between their professional and personal social media presence. Staying unbiased as well as gaining a defining identity online are two aspects of social media that a journalist has to balance.