(photo taken from mirror.co.uk)
As many of us may know everything we do online is just a second away from being saved by someone and online forever.
When you’re a professional in the public, i.e. a journalist, you have to be even more careful about what you say and who you say it to.
The question that I want to address is: Is it wise for a journalist to get in angry exchanges with the public on social networks?
According to the ONA’s “Social Networking and The News: Key Issues”, journalist should avoid getting into heated exchanges with the public, including fellow journalist and sources.
They do state that if the journalist is paid to opinionated then it is okay for them to stir things up a little bit as long as it is not taking it too far.
I would have to agree with that. It is not your job as a journalist to get into it with the public and cause trouble because you are always representing your news outlet that you are employed with.
One journalist from New York Daily News, Shaun King, decided that he would post on Twitter and Facebook an email between him and another journalist in which he had a heated exchange with. He was immediately told to take it down and told that his accounts would be frozen if he didn’t. Why? Because it not only had the conversation but also had the other journalist’s phone number in the email. This is truly an example of bad judgment on his part.
I would have to take it a bit farther and say that you should not only stay away from online exchanges but also when you are out in public, because everything is being recorded.
Another example of bad judgment comes from an exchange that ESPN reporter Britt McHenry had with an employee from a towing company in which she was recorded insulting the employee. She called her uneducated, talked about her teeth and also talked about her weight, stating that if she was missing some teeth she probably could work there too.
Once the video surfaced online and went viral, she was suspended and later apologized on Twitter for her misconduct.
Yet another example of why you must compose yourself at all times especially when you’re in the public eye as a journalist.