Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When Media Fail to Follow Legacy Ethics in Social Platforms

The media coverage and social media frenzy surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings of 2012 offer a poignant case study of the harm that can be done when an organization doesn't apply its traditional standards of ethics to the new social media platforms.

As this article in Ethicaljournalismnetwork.org painfully details, such failures can not only harm reputations but can also, ultimately, be deadly. Full story: http://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/en/2013/how-tragedy-strikes-when-journalism-and-social-media-lack-ethics-and-humanity

Sadly, this not the only example. As details of the mass shooting of small schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 12, 2012 unfolded, initial media reports named the wrong person as the shooter. The speed of social media, and Twitter in particular, accelerated the spread of this falsehood.

In the ensuing debate over media ethics, an NPR journalist was soundly criticized for the practice of tweeting raw, unconfirmed information as a method for quickly 'crowdsourcing' what was true. Andy Carvin then used STORIFY to pen an extended defense of his re-tweeting and crowdsourcing approach, even though it involved 'publishing' significant information in social media that ultimately turned out to be false.

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