For the Record
Dean Wright on Ethics, Innovation and Values
The rise of social media has brought journalists some powerful new storytelling and information-gathering tools. However, with these new opportunities have come some new risks.
At Reuters, we have just published some social media guidelines that lay out some basic principles and offer recommendations that should prove useful as journalists navigate what can sometimes seem a chaotic landscape.
In building the new guidelines, we’ve embraced some basic principles:
We encourage the use of social media approaches in Reuters journalism.
Accuracy, freedom from bias and independence are fundamental to our reputation. These values and the Trust Principles apply to journalism produced using social media just as they have to all other journalism produced by Reuters.
A distinguishing feature of Reuters is the trust invested in its journalists to rise above personal biases in their work and to apply common sense in dealing with the challenges offered by social media.
This last point is particularly important to me.
I’ve written in the past about how we depend on our journalists to rise above their biases to cover stories in an independent way, whether they’re in Gaza or Washington–or anywhere else.
The recent election in Iran was one of the more dramatic stories this year, with powerful images of protests and street-fighting dominating television and online coverage.
Are we too connected?
In recent days and weeks I’ve been wondering if our mobile phones, Blackberries, text messaging and constant access to email and social media have brought us too close together for our own good.
from Mark Jones:
I spent last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos producing content for reuters.com, running some experiments in new ways to cover a conference, and observing the growing integration of social media into a major mainstream event.
We had great success with giving our correspondents ‘Flip cameras’ with which to grab short comments from delegates on the key issues of the Forum. You can see some of these on our ‘Davos debates’ on the economy, financial regulation, environment, and ethics. The major learning point was that these were much, much easier to use than the mobile phones we used last year in Davos.