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A Twitter Boycott?

by on October 22, 2015

After reading this gigaom.com article about Sky News banning its reporters from using Twitter to tweet about stories that they have been assigned. While Sky News reporters are allowed to retweet other journalists, they themselves are not allowed to post any news related content on their twitter. The Associated Press placed restrictions on its reporters’ Twitter usage, stating that they mustn’t retweet anything news related without adding a comment “to make it clear that they were not agreeing with the person being retweeted.” Sky also banned its reporters from retweeting anyone outside of Sky News, so as not to spread any rumors or news that hadn’t yet been confirmed.

These types of restrictions can be detrimental to the news organization and its reporters. Rather than focusing on rules and regulations regarding social media usage, publications should be channelling their energy into taking advantage Instead of being resistant to technological changes, it is important for the media to keep up and change alongside technology. Social media can be used to news outlets’ benefit if they would only let it do so.

Whether we like it or not, outlets like Twitter and Facebook are a part of this generation’s daily life. For many news consumers, these sites are the first place they turn to for the news. News organizations can reach thousands more readers if they utilized social media platforms to their full potential. Social media allows for reporters to not only promote their content, but also ask questions of one another and interact with their readers. Reporters are able to show a more human side of themselves and correct their mistakes much more easily than trying to retract statements in a print newspaper or an online news outlet.

While the reluctance to adapt social media is understandable and I do agree that there is always room for improvement when it comes to the media’s online presence, placing harsh restrictions on Twitter usage and limiting reporters’ online freedom can be detrimental to the news outlet as a whole. Why shouldn’t reporters be allowed to share their stories with the online world? If the publication is confident in hiring reliable reporters then it should have faith that they will not tweet false information or rumors. Protecting the public from Twitter mishaps is important, but there is more good than harm that can come from embracing social media.

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2 Comments
  1. I think that it’s really weird that all of these news organizations place restrictions on their reporter’s Twitter usage. I think you’re totally right; it’s a part of everyday life for this generation, and it really spreads ideas and stories. It made me think about the last few chapters of the ethics book and how social media is becoming a way for readers, and journalists, to connect with one another. There are so many platforms to read and spread information, and Twitter is a big one.

    However, I do understand that AP doesn’t want their reporters to share some news stories or tweet specific things. I think that a lot of news outlets, especially popular ones like AP, need to remain unbiased, and sometimes Twitter can compromise that roll. It’s unfortunate, but maybe journalists, unless their mainly opinion or want to write about what they believe, need to refrain from posting a lot on their own personal social media accounts.

  2. I agree that these rules are restricting on the journalists, though I do see the angle from the news organization. If a reporter affiliated with news organization publishes a story, that is directly reflective of the newspaper. Although I agree that journalists should have freedoms outside of the work place, the story that they wrote for the news organization directly relates back to the organization. I feel that this is a tricky subject to decipher what is right and wrong.

    Twitter is a forum to reflect opinion. I do not think an individual can remain fully neutral on social media. I know other organizations that I have worked for have a communications director who covers social media bases using outlined, expected usage of language, photos and simple things such as colors and fonts that are approved by the organization. There is a reason organizations have expected representation, therefore I find this discussion hard to figure out what is right or wrong in this discussion.

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