Journalist or commenter? Where does a young journalist fit in on social media sites and comments sections?
More than a reader, but not quite a professional journalist just yet:
One of the questions going on inside my heading during the conference about user comments and ethics codes for news organizations is where do young journalists fit in on the web. I’m talking about student reporters, who are still in school and perhaps working at a student paper or interning locally, or young graduates still looking for a job and not yet a part of a media organization. Should we carry ourselves as journalists on the web? Should we refrain from online discussion boards … comment anonymously? or comment with our real names?
Should we debate on blogs or add comments to articles if we are journalists ourselves? Peter Kafka has shown us how Twitter can be great for tracking the development of a story, but should we use the medium to voice our own views? Should we engage in the social media movement as just places for tips, or should we respond actively? I’m trying to write my own code of ethics and am wondering what other journalists and young reporters think.
There’s such a big paper trail on the web, and I think it’s important to explore where young journalists fit in, especially if they’re looking to get into the professional news business that demands journalists understand and make use of the social media community.