A Survey of Social Media Policies in U.S. Television Newsrooms, co-authored with Syracuse University journalism professor Suzanne Lysak, focuses on how the use of social media by journalists raises new ethical and professional dilemmas. As a result, news outlets are implementing policies addressing what is and what is not permitted on social media platforms. I presented the paper at the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference in San Francisco.
Through a nationwide survey of local television news directors, the study examines the prevalence of social media policies in TV newsrooms, the source of those policies, and how they are implemented. This study also investigates if and how the policies address emerging matters related to five specific areas: personal and professional social media activity of reporters, social media sourcing and content, audience complaints on social media, use of social media while reporting in the field, and ownership of social media accounts.
The results of our study show that most policies properly address what reporters are allowed to post on social media accounts. On the downside, there is room for improvement when in comes to the inclusion of guidelines for contacting sources via social media and for the use of social media content.
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