Thursday, 29 January 2009

How journalists should behave on Facebook

The New York times recognises Facebook as a great hunting found for stories, but is worried about the dangers its journalists can expose themselves and their paper to when there.

The Poynter Institute got hold of the managing editor's warning memo to staff on how to behave on this and other social networking sites.

It amounts to a manifesto for taking - grab any good stories you spot - but not giving. Journalists must not list their political affiliations and should be wary of expressing views: of editorialising as he puts it in the memo.

Why, even joining a group can be dangerous. Joining may be seen as condoning.

You can understand the caution, but journalists and newspapers really have a choice here.

Either we engage in a conversation with our readers and others, or we don't.

Being in a conversation requires us to reveal something of ourselves. If we don't, then the conversation is not real. And readers can spot, and will terminate, a one-sided exchange.

We either adapt to the new media way of things, or we don't. And if we don't, we're dead.

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