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NY Times: ‘US editors still don’t want journalists to be human’

The New York Times has an article by Mathew Ingram of Gigaom who feels US news editors seem to be saying “don’t allow your journalists to be human, under any circumstances” when it comes to social media. The article is based on a social media policy overview from the American Society of News Editors which finds that “breaking news on Twitter is not advisable”, according to news editors.

There’s the typical media-industry bogeyman that lies behind most of these policies: the staffer who types things into Twitter without thinking, maybe even (gasp!) breaking news on the social network before his organisation has a chance to craft a story. And what happens then? Chaos! The very foundations of the media industry crumbling, dogs and cats living together — mass hysteria. None of that actually happens, of course, but most traditional media policies seem to harbor the fear that it might.

Ingram goes on to say:

To take just one example, the report mentions the case of Octavia Nasr, a senior editor at CNN with decades of experience in the Middle East, who posted something on Twitter expressing regret that a Hezbollah leader had died. Although he was known as a terrorist, Nasr said he was also a force for tolerance toward women in the region, and that’s why she said what she did. Defensible? Totally, as I wrote at the time. But CNN fired her. The ASNE report uses this as an example of why people should be careful what they say, but I think it’s an example of why organizations like CNN are dinosaurs.

Do people express themselves on social networks? Of course they do. Should they avoid being stupid or offensive? Yes. But to expect them to have no opinions — and then to fire or sanction them when they do — is naive in the extreme.

The report also states that breaking news on Twitter is not advisable — those kinds of reports should be saved for the newspaper, it says, because the purpose of social media is to “drive traffic” to the reporter or editor’s website. So presumably that means New York Times  media reporter Brian Stelter shouldn’t have re-tweeted the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and shouldn’t have pointed out how credible the report was because it came from the former Secretary of Defense’s chief of staff.

Ingram’s full article is at this link.

Are the social media policies of UK newsrooms more progressive than the US? Or is the message from editors that journalists should now be human and breaking news should not be the preserve of the newspaper?

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American Society of News Editors fights back with ‘mythbusting’ columns

May 18th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

In the US, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) is publishing a series of opinion pieces aimed at “reinforcing the vitally important role of newspapers and professional journalism in the digital age”. The pieces will be available for reproduction by ASNE members and news outlets and will address the following “myths”, says the Society:

  • Newspapers are washed up;
  • Newspapers are no longer relevant;
  • News media are biased;
  • Newspapers are not connected to community;
  • The web and digital technologies are killing news organizations.

In April 2009 the ASNE changed its N from newspapers to news; three of the five myths up for busting, however, focus on newspapers…

Full release at this link…

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Journalism Daily: AutoTrader tips, Technorati’s ‘original content’ and the online anonymity debate

September 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editor’s Blog:

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First web editors appointed to American Society of News Editors’ board

September 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Newspapers, Online Journalism

The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has appointed not one, but two web editors to its board – the first time web editors have been represented on the group’s executive in its almost 100-year history (picked up via Editor & Publisher).

John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico, and Anthony Moor, deputy managing editor/interactive of Dallas Morning News, will take up the positions.

The appointments were made ‘to reach out to news executives beyond the group’s print newspaper roots‘, an ASNE announcement said.

The addition of web editors to the association’s board is one of many recent changes by the ASNE towards a more digital outlook. In April this year the body changed ‘Newspaper’ for ‘News’ in its name.

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ASNE: Newspaper staff numbers fall, as online journalists rise

April 22nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Job losses, Jobs, Newspapers

Missed this release from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) detailing the results of its annual employment survey in the US daily newspaper industry.

Figures from last year suggest a loss of 5,900 newsroom jobs at daily newspapers – a drop in journalists of 11.3 per cent.

In contrast, the 2008 survey suggests 2,300 newsroom journalists were working online-only – and increase of 600 from 2007.

Full release at this link…

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