Restrictions on Journalist’s Personal Facebook and Twitter Pages

It’s time to face the facts: social media has changed the world of journalism for good. Twitter and Facebook are being used more and more to spread news as it happens, and keep the public updated with the most recent developments in the news world.

How does this affect journalists and their personal social media accounts though?

Since the job of a journalist is to present the facts, and present them in the most unbiased way possible, shouldn’t journalists keep their opinions and bias’ to themselves even on their own accounts? The Washington Post sure thinks so. They recently posted new guidelines on how their staff can use social media in response to a reporter tweeting (on his own account) his opinion on an issue.

This raises the obvious question then; should journalists be allowed (ethically) to have social media pages where they can express their own thoughts and opinions? Or do they have an obligation to keep their opinions hidden from the public, so the public does not question whether or not that journalist is providing an unbiased news story?

These are questions that are becoming increasingly important in the world of journalism today. Many reporters and journalists have their own, non-work related social networking accounts. This will only increase as the next generation of tech-savvy journalists hits the news room.

Where should the line be drawn between a journalist’s duty to serve the people and provide them with unbiased facts, and their own personal freedoms outside of the workplace?

This question will be the cause of much debate in the upcoming years as more and more journalists enter the field with their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts already created and updated daily.

This entry was posted in Law and ethics, Social media and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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