Howard Rosenberg said it best in his 2002 article entitled A Journalist Breaks the Golden Rule. "Reporters are not hired to write columns or commentaries," says Rosenberg, "They report stories, which are meant to exclude opinions. Commentaries are written by columnists and labeled as opinion."
However in today's social media age, the line between reporting and commentating can be easily crossed... and more often then not, the line is crossed without the report even realizing it.
Social media was created on the basis of opinions. It was created as an outlet, a "safe haven" if you will, for the exchanging of different opinions. Yet as more and more consumers are turning to social media as their main source of news, reporters are being forced to keep their twitter "professional" and keep their opinions to themselves.
Take for example BuzzFeed news editor, Rachel Zarrell.
On July 23, 2015, a man opened fire in a Louisiana movie theatre, killing two people and wounding nine others before eventually taking his own life.
Within minutes of the news breaking, Twitter was flooded with tweets of sympathy, opinions, and even outrage. One such tweet came from BuzzFeed news editor, Rachel Zarrell.
|image via politicalillusionsexposed.com|
It seems like an innocent tweet, right? Maybe for some... but not if you're the news editor of the unbiased media giant BuzzFeed.
|image via twitter.com|
Miller referenced BuzzFeed's ethical standards, which prohibits editorial news staffers from voicing opinions on candidates and policy issues. It's clear to see that Zarrell overstepped her boundaries as an unbiased reporter. In fact, she quickly realized her mistake as well, issuing an apology soon after.