This month I gave a talk called Journalism 2.0: Social Media Ethics at both the Iowa Newspaper Association and Wisconsin Newspaper Association conventions. (BTW, it was great to fly in to Green Bay Packer country only days after their Super Bowl win.)
The purpose of this talk was to help journalists better understand the following:
- How to craft social media policy for their employees and teams.
- How to balance their personal and professional social network identities.
- How to use social media as a research tool.
- How to maintain ethics and integrity while playing in the new media sandbox.
The latter point really sparked some debate up in Wisconsin, as real-time journalism was called into question – specifically NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin‘s curation and re-tweeting of #Egypt and #Jan25 Twitter posts. One audience member suggested that this was, in fact, not journalism. A paraphrased quote: “Journalists don’t ask the public is this happening? It’s up to us to report that.” Others in the room were vocal about the fact that Andy was simply doing his duty and providing a filter to all the noise.
Related to all of this is the “Line of Verification” concept created by Matthew Eltringham of the BBC, which I referenced in the presentation. Essentially, Matthew states that in the past, there was The Light Side (stuff that can be verified) and The Dark Side (stuff that can’t be verified and thus can’t be published). He argues that digital and social media networks have muddied up The Dark Side, and that some journalists need to start providing a filter for that uncharted area – which is what Andy Carvin is attempting to do on Twitter.
So what do you think? Can journalists play around on The Dark Side and still maintain their ethics, integrity and duty to the public? Is this a case of applying the rules of a traditional medium to a new one? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Embedded below via Slideshare is my original presentation deck. I also wanted to quickly thank Twitter pal Bonnie Boglioli Randall for originally pointing me to Matthew Eltringham’s post.
Image credit: pagedooley via flickr.