Using Social Media

social mediaJournalists are encouraged to use social media. The death of Michael Jackson and Whitney Housten were tweeted before any major news organisation could cover the story. If a news organisation is slow to respond to breaking news then they will become obsolete. However, the use of social media for journalists working for a news organisation is somewhat murky.

Catherine Deveney, a former columnist for The Age, lost her job after she sent a series of tweets during a Logie awards night in 2010. Whilst tweeting during the awards is considered part of the job, the comedian Will Anderson used Twitter to joke about the awards ceremony, Catherine Deveney’s tweets were considered offensive. The Age received many complaints about the content of the tweets and she lost her job.

News organisations are a business and they need to keep their customers happy.  However, the immediacy of these technology platforms and the urgency of pressing the return or enter key means that once our tweets, texts and blog posts are circulating, it is very difficult to take the words back.

What can be learnt from The Age and Catherine Deveney? Businesses need to be very clear on how they wish their employees to use social media. If you are going to encourage its use then make sure you have a policy that clearly outlines the expectations of social media.  Don’t let your staff flounder and then sack them because you haven’t set any guidelines. Instead, think about the consequences of using technology and protect your company and staff appropriately.

Related article: Twit or Tweet



About the author

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.


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  2. An insightful blog post there mate ! Thank you for it .


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