twitter for journalists
Social media is transforming the newsroom. It has the power to connect reporters and sources, as well as readers, like never before. That level of connection also has implications.
Jeff Jarvis, the interactive journalism program director at the City University of New York, has evangelized this transformation. “Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. also provide the opportunity for reporters and editors to come out from behind the institutional voice of the paper — a voice that is less and less trusted — and to become human. Of course, they should mix business and pleasure."
As the blurring of professional and personal lines occur, many organizations have instituted social media policies to determine what is and is not out of bounds for their employees. The AP, for example, requires that employees identify themselves and their affiliation when engaging in any work-related interactions.
The Wall Street Journal demands that its staffers consult editors before "connecting" or "friending" potential confidential sources; discourages the explanation of how stories were reported, written, or edited; and prohibits workers from giving away scoops before they're published."
Other organizations advocate the exact opposite, arguing that talking about how reporting occurred establishes a level of trust, authority, and intimacy that is otherwise unachievable. Social media advocates also argue that promoting content that has yet to run is a great way to build buzz around stories or packages.
Ultimately, it's up to you and/or your publication to decide what the boundaries are. Realize that every post/friend/like counts, and there are compelling arguments for and against varying degrees of transparency on social media.
For a comprehensive list of social media policies, SocialMediaGovernance.com has put together a list of nearly 175 different organizations that have defined codes of conduct regarding Twitter and other social networks.