Oct 4, 2009

reportedly human

All day, I've been thinking about a tweet by 20-year newspaper vet Gina Chen about journalists remaining professional while still being human.
Using social media as an example, Chen pointed to the Washington Post editor abolishing his Twitter account because he feared the social media site went against the paper's policy.
She weighed in: "Puleeeze! Why is it that journalists don't think they can manage to be both human and good at their jobs as so many people in other fields can be."
And, if there was any discrepancy in various company policies, Chen pointed to a comprehensive list of organization's rules for social media.
The question remains, where does the role and responsibility of the reporter end and the rights of the person begin? Or, are they one in the same?
As a new journalist, I know what I can and can't post on my personal social medias. But, are journalism ethics a part of who I am or am I just self-censoring to avoid getting in trouble?
This inner dilemma reminds me of what Vancouver Sun managing editor Kirk LaPointe insists: New journalists must brand themselves online by getting a website with your namesake, start blogging, consume and participate in the news.
And there are lots of sites out there with a number of tips on how to accomplish this and take over the online media world, including one from student-driven Reporter Online.
Great advice, but how do employed journos make that separation between work and personal life?
Journalists are supposed to be non-biased and objective, but this isn't always the case when it comes to personal blogs. Should journalists have the freedom to articulate their personal thoughts or should professional duties trump personal desires?
If all goes well, there's still hope for the human.


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