The Importance of Accuracy

bulls-eye

I can defiantly see how journalists can feel threatened by social media. When you think about it, anyone can be a journalist these days. Social media allows anyone to break news but is their news factual? Journalists need to employ tools to combat all of the noise on social media and hold the journalism “pledge”: report the facts.

I had never heard of geocodes before this week’s lecture and I have to say, they are so cool! Think of how many more sources journalists could if they used this tool. Better yet, think of how many sources they could check! With limited Twitter users enabling geocodes in their tweets I realize the limitations this tool presents. Hopefully more emphasis is placed on geocodes and it is utilized more in the future!

Another new concept presented in this week’s lecture: reverse search. The giant squid example proves just how important it is to check the validity of imagery on social media. I was unaware this was even possible. During the Boston Marathon bombing I saw so many images with extreme captions on social media. Seeing as this situation was a very extreme one the captions on these images seemed feasible. As more information came out the more I learned some of the images were just not true. When situations like these happen news outlets should take the time to investigate images so false reporting does not occur.

To answer the question posed in the lecture accuracy should be the most important priority for journalists. When news is breaking and journalists want to use social media to report it I think the best practices to still ensure accuracy are to use verified accounts and geocodes. Bottom line: if you can’t confirm a story don’t post about it. As our “Verifying Tweets When News Breaks” article states, it’s more important to get it right than to post it first. Trust is such a hard thing to gain with news viewers, why risk breaking it with a story that can’t be verified?

Sometimes mistakes happen…if a news organization accidently reports something that is not accurate I believe it is extremely important to address it, not delete it. Every once in a while when watching the news I will hear reporters correct themselves if they reported something that later proved to be incorrect. The same should be practiced on social media. Journalists should say sorry, report the correct facts, and post a link with a source verifying this information.

Bottom line: always verify and always be accurate.

Social Media Wrap Up

This semester we have talked about what seems like every aspect of social media. From social media networks to SEO and edgeranking, we’ve performed and analyzed the majority of the social media practices on the Internet. As this semester comes to a close there are still some questions that linger…

How does social media impact journalism? What is social media’s relation with public relations? Is it public relations? How much of an impact does social media have on your job? I’ve thought about these questions throughout the semester and luckily this week’s readings provided some insight.

In my opinion social media and journalism now go hand-in-hand. Print is merely extinct and the majority of journalism can be found on the Internet. News companies have leveraged Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other mediums to post their stories and interact with the public. Perhaps the greatest way social media impacts the news is by giving journalists leads.journalism on social media

As an undergraduate I studied journalism. I remember going into the newsroom and pitching stories to my news director. The majority of my story ideas came from the Internet and my news director would always ask me how I could make my pitch a more personal story for viewers. Social media allows this to happen. Journalists can see what’s trending, ask the public if they’ve been affected by something, and find sources.

What about credibility? News means nothing if it is not reliable. Reuter’s is a great example of a news source having a guide in place for their reporters. In it they stress having a checks and balance system (make sure sources are credible) and encourage journalists to rely on their supervisors and peers to help maintain credibility. I encourage all news companies to set the same standard when it comes to social media and reporting.

On to social media and PR…

Social media is a catalyst for public relations. Social media was created with the intent of sharing content and connecting with people…the primus of public relations. I would encourage PR teams to utilize social media because “by sharing information, both PR and social are able to grow their networks and surpass client expectations.” Social media gives people a platform of millions and millions of people, and in my opinion gives people visibility that surpasses what print and feature article can provide. While most PR teams know this and utilize social media today, it is never a bad for them to get a reminder how important these platforms are for their clients success.

prWhile social media can help accomplish your job more effectively I can’t stress how important it is to be mindful of what is said on these outlets. People watch each other on social media and if they don’t like what they see it can negatively impact your career. My advice: be smart and don’t share anything on social media you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Practice proper edict and your job and reputation won’t be in jeopardy.

In summation, everything public relies on social media to help tell a story, let the right people know the information, and get the job done. Like other aspects of life it is important to set goals that help you define success. Knowing expectations will help you utilize social media appropriately and keep you on the right track.

What are some insights you have in regards to what was discussed above? Do you think every company should be utilizing social media in some fashion? I would love to hear your thoughts.