From: Schlesinger, David A. (M Edit S)
Sent: Donnerstag, 8. Juli 2010 17:34
Subject: How social media impacts your professional life
Two recent incidents in the United States have shown how hard it is to keep our social media personae separate from our professional lives.
First David Weigel had to resign from the Washington Post after inflammatory comments he made on a supposedly closed journalists’ mailing list were made public. Then, CNN fired its senior editor for Middle Eastern Affairs, Octavia Nasr, after she tweeted “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot”, a comment that immediately called into question her ability to cover her subject objectively.
Now I don’t want to get involved in other organisations’ personnel issues. But I’ve repeatedly said and believe very strongly that in a linked and searchable world, your online persona can reflect on how or even whether you can do your job.
If you give people cause or reason to doubt your ability to be a fair and objective journalist, that will necessarily impact on our ability to give you assignments or allow you on the file.
We are in the early days of social media and there is no question that the journalistic landscape is changing. But there are some lines we can draw:
- Don’t start or get involved in flame wars – arguments using heated language and personal attacks. As a journalist, rely on facts and reasoned arguments, not on invective. I don’t care how angry you might be at a person or a company or even a country; just don’t do it.
- Don’t compromise your objectivity privately if you still want to use it professionally.
- Remember that the published word lasts forever and can go everywhere. A tweet by a journalist is simply not the same as a joke shared over the dinner table.
- Anything that can be forwarded probably will be at some point, so be prepared to stand behind what you say – its content and its tone.
Editor In Chief, Reuters
Phone: +44 20 xxx
Mobile: +44 7990 xxx
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