The coverage of Hurricane Sandy provides plenty of examples of how, when used correctly, social media can play a vital role in delivering the full story to the viewer. It also provides examples of how, when used without discretion, social media can play into the downfall of media credibility. The potential for reputational harm is enormous. Each decision to use a Tweet or a picture posted on Facebook is a calculated risk, pitting newsworthiness against a possible hit to an organization’s credibility.
CBS recently conducted a survey of newsroom credibility and while the results aren’t necessarily surprising given the new media climate, it it shows something has to be done to regulate this relatively new way of delivering news.
HOW TO GET IT RIGHT
The coverage of Hurricane Sandy also exemplifies the power each of us has when posting a Tweet for everyone to see. Based on these many examples delivered to us through Sandy, I offer three suggestions to master the social media newsroom; our middle and high schools across America need to begin teaching social media ethics, newsrooms need to make better decisions when forced to make cuts, and social media policies should be in place in every single media organization.