Monday, November 14, 2016

Social Media and News

Natalie Townsend

One of the first things I do every morning, and I'm sure many others as well, is check my social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter have become main sources of where I see what's going on in the world. Social media plays a huge role in reporting news, especially because of the ability for everyone to publish whatever and whenever they want. However, this leaves news outlets in a sticky situation of whether or not to be the first to report or to take their time and make sure they get the facts straight.

Speed vs. Truth

Over the last several years, social media has been becoming more and more popular in our society. It has become a main source of where people receive their daily news and is sometimes the first to report on breaking news. Of course, readers want their news fast, but this sometimes leads to inaccuracy.

So is it better to be the first to report and risk making a mistake or take your time and be the credible source your readers can always count on? In my opinion the "publish first, update later" strategy ultimately comes with more downfalls.

Any credible journalist knows that truth is the utmost important thing we have to offer. Building trust with our readers is extremely important. Sure, its nice to be the first to report on a breaking news story, but once a mistake is made, it's hard to build that trust back up.

This depicts the way some news outlets rush to be the first to report on something.

Public vs. Private

Another issue that has come to rise with social media being so prevalent in people's lives and the way they receive their news is the issue of what is considered to be public and what is meant to be private. Anything you post on the internet is public. Social media is public. In my opinion, don't post it if you don't want it being seen by any other eyes than your own. 

So is consent needed when dealing with things seen on twitter? As I said, once you post something on the internet, it's out there for good and, it's as public as can be. But as journalists, it is our decision to consider whether it is ethical to use someone's tweet without consent.

As Yahoo News Washington Editor Garance Franke-Ruta discussed, it can be assumed that people with a smaller range of followers are expecting their posts to stay within that community, rather than a celebrity or well known person who has a verified account. 

What Next?

With the booming industry of social media and its ability to reach to audiences faster than ever done before, it makes it more important for credible journalists and well known publications to report more truthfully and transparently than ever. Truth is more important than speed, as well as being ethical.

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