By Andy Schotz | February 4th, 2010
Social media tools (especially Facebook and Twitter) have found a niche in the practice of journalism.
But is this an example of technology moving faster than careful thought?
There are pitfalls in sending out a knee-jerk tweet or stepping into someone else’s Facebook network to cultivate sources on deadline.
Here are new guidelines issued by the Radio Television Digital News Association.
I’ve been asked a few times whether SPJ has updated its code of ethics to keep up with social media.
I’m not sure we need to. The ethical principles in the code, for the most part, don’t pertain only to one form of communication. Fairness, accuracy, context and other fundamentals certainly can apply to BlackBerry or cell-phone texters, too.
But my position isn’t immutable, and the rest of SPJ’s Ethics Committee has a wide range of views, which might lead to some degree of change. The committee will talk about this soon as part of a broad review of the code of ethics, which hasn’t changed in 14 years.
(I’m not sure about this reference in The Washington Times, which seems to suggest SPJ recently updated the code to address social media.)
Does the SPJ Code of Ethics need new language to guide journalists on the ethical use of social media as part of their work? Please tell us what you think.
-Andy Schotz, chairman, SPJ Ethics Committee