As a journalist, to Tweet or not to Tweet?

Can journalists use social networks to express opinions or advocate for causes?

 Twitter Jail

ONA’s “Social Network and The Key Issues” document says that as a journalist affiliated with a news organization, you become a representative. Everything you say and do could reflect on the organization and affect people’s ability to see the news organization as unbiased and objective.

Most news organizations have a style and way that they report the news, and their loyal consumers get used to the system.

Most organizations are getting wise about social media and drafting a social media policy. The most common thing in all the social media policies that I have encountered is that the employee cannot talk bad about the organization.

Even personal blogs can get you in trouble if you are talking negatively about your blog, if you get caught.

In 2013, an investigative reporter for WAAY, an ABC affiliate,  posted a list of confessions to her personal blog and was fired. Some of the confessions included, “My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me and I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I’m talking about.”

The company didn’t appreciate this blog, once it was discovered, and fired her.

Octavia Nasr, former CNN Middle East Editor for more than 20 years, was fired due to her Tweet expressing sympathy for the passing of a controversial figure.


The Tweet didn’t seem malicious, but it seemed like she didn’t consider how all of her audience would react to her Tweeting about this controversial figure.

Factory workers are only at work while at the factory. Nurse are only at work when at the hospital. Journalists, once your name is officially affiliated with a company, are always at work. You are a representative of the company and must act accordingly.

No offensive tweeting.

Thanks for reading!


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