Ten Commandments To Using Social Media

As social media tools become more prominent in today's world of journalism, it is important to use these tools with a sense of professionalism. However, while journalists do need to use professionalism in social media, adding a personal touch in their posts are a great way to connect with audiences. So where is the divide between professional and personal posts? How should journalists determine how to use social media tools and what should the ethical guidelines be?

After speaking with numerous media outlets, three colleagues and I put together a list of 10 rules we feel all outlets should follow when using social media. View these rules below or watch the slideshow and let me know what you think:

The Ten Commandments To Using Social Media

Social Media Mission Statement: to harbor and create dialogue about what is happening in the community. Therefore, it is our responsibility as journalists to continue and stimulate the dialogue, with that, we have created the following ethical guidelines for social media use:

1. Unbiased: Journalists must remain objective whenever generating content through social media.

2. Attribution: Journalists must provide accurate attribution for any facts they post.

3. Truth: Journalists must be truthful in every post.

4. Timeliness: Journalists must provide breaking, urgent facts to news consumers as soon as accuracy can be fully obtained.

5. Professionalism: Journalists must maintain a professional demeanor so as not to taint their personal or professional brand or that of their newsroom.

6. Accessibility: Journalists are masters of the content they generate therefore, they must remain open and accountable to challenges and questions news consumers may have about their content.

7. Privacy: Journalists must remain open to the public through social media in order to be adequately accessible, and therefore should not expect full privacy while posting.

8. Moderation: Journalists are not obligated to endure senseless abuse from news consumers, and are therefore entitled to moderate personal social media outlets this includes but is not limited to: blocking users and deleting comments.

9. Service: Journalists must work as an extended arm of the public; therefore they should utilize social media to gather questions from news consumers to ensure adequate coverage of issues.

10. Mindful: Journalists must bear in mind that videos, pictures, and other forms of media posted online remain under the same journalistic scrutiny as written content.

The above guidelines were written with the understanding that a journalist is an extension of his/her newsroom regardless of physical location. Journalists are encouraged to live by the Journalists Creed introduced by Walter Williams. Therefore, these guidelines subscribe to the general common sense as should be understood by all journalists.

View the slideshow below:



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