Journalists who don’t get the social media game are dropping like flies.
The idea that we should be on Facebook and Twitter is sound enough. They are the new “platforms” on which news can be broken and the next newscast promoted (“The 3,472nd study on whether that cup of joe is good or bad for you…at 5!”)
But recently, a senior editor at CNN lost her job for expressing a personal opinion on Twitter that her bosses found way out of the parameters of journalistic propriety. This has started a new debate on whether journalistic objectivity needs to be redefined. (I’m quite happy to live by the definition I’ve grown up with.)
And then, there’s the huge mess at the NBC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three reporters and a news photographer were fired last week, after they posted a video on YouTube that shredded their very being as local TV news reporters. Their sin wasn’t so much making fun of their profession (find a profession that doesn’t), but the way they did it. They merrily dropped F-bombs all over Little Rock and the surrounding environs.
The video has been removed from YouTube, but there’s a link to it in this article on the debacle.
I watched it. And I wondered what the reporters who posted it to YouTube were thinking. Once upon a time, it may have been an in-house joke. A “gag reel” that never would have left the station. But those days are long gone. Post it on YouTube, and it’s not only out the door, but around the world.
In this digital era, it was an invitation to be fired. Professional suicide. You would think they would have known better.
Perhaps you can redefine objectivity, but common sense is the same as it ever was.