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How local television newsrooms’ social media policies are evolving

Patricia Cruz

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The study “Social Media Policies in U.S. Television Newsrooms: Changes over Time” by Anthony C. Adornato and Allison Frisch from Ithaca College looked at the ways in which way newsroom social media policies evolve in four areas.

The four areas were 1) journalists’ professional

and personal social media activities, 2) social media sources and content, 3) audience complaints, and 4) ownership of on-air talents’ accounts.

Social media policies, or SMPs, address how social media impacts gatekeeping and agenda-setting, and objectivity, bias and transparency in newsrooms. A previous study reveals that nearly all newsrooms have SMPs. They typically address how to appropriately use social media accounts and so on. 

In this study, two U.S. online surveys were conducted, in 2014 and 2020. The sample for the first study consisted of 526 news directors, while the sample for the 2020 study consisted of 512 news directors. In the latter study, a prenotification email was sent to the directors and in both cases, reminders were sent to increase the response rate. 

The surveys contained questions on all the four areas. The total number of participants for the 2014 study ended up being 126, and 110 for the 2020 study. The results revealed that 95% (2014) and 96% (2020) of the newsrooms had SMPs.

When it comes to the first area, professional media activities, the study revealed that nearly all had guidelines for the use of professional accounts (90% in 2014, 96% in 2020). For the use of personal accounts, there was an even more marked increase in the guidelines: 71% had such guidelines initially compared to 79% in 2020.

There were seven items on the questionnaire related to online conduct. Nearly all of the SMPs had guidelines on sharing of personal opinions on professional accounts ( 95% in 2014 and 99% in 2020). An increase in other elements was noted: sharing of political affiliation went from 70% in 2014 to 98% in 2020; advocating on behalf of issue/agenda went from 83% (2014) to 97%, among others.

The SMPs made little distinction between what is appropriate on the professional accounts and personal accounts. The data regarding maintaining a personal account versus a professional did not change between the studies significantly. 

When it comes to the second area, sources and content, there was a noted increase on allowing the “friending” of sources between 2014 (41%) and 2020 (60%). Though some still discourage the practice, less than 1% of stations said it was not allowed. In content, there were no guidelines on verification in 30% (2014) and 26% (2020). aA significant increase,  45% in 2014 to 77% in 2020, said they were required to ask permission before publishing an user’s photo or video.

For the third area, audience complaints, there was a decrease on whether the reporters are allowed to respond to complaints (19% in 2014, and 7% in 2020). Very few (4%) stations had no policy on the issue, and for nearly a half it depended on the complaint type. 

On ownership, it is an increasing policy for the stations to own the accounts of on-air talent (66% in 2014, 70% in 2020). On the question, only on the 2020 study,  on whether the leaving reporters are allowed to take their accounts with them if owned by the station, a plurality (43%)  selected no, 37% yes, and 20% “it depends”. There were also other further questions on the 2020 version. 

Although nearly all of the newsrooms had SMPs, a surprising amount had unwritten ones – 17% in 2014 and 22% in 2020. A majority of them (72%) had been revised in six years. SMPs are still a top-down exercise in most cases, with managers drafting the guidelines and only 30% (2014) and 26% (2020) asking for input from staff members. The authors note that this process should be evaluated more. 

They also comment on the conundrum that staff members are expected to humanize themselves on personal accounts, yet the guidelines which differ little from professional accounts leave little room to do so. 

The entire topic requires more empirical study particularly when it comes to journalistic autonomy and journalistic capital. The authors suggest that further studies could focus on how journalists from marginalized communities are allowed to share their lived experiences on social media under the SMPs.

The article  “Social Media Policies in U.S. Television Newsrooms: Changes over Time” by Anthony C. Adornato and Allison Frisch is in Electronic News. (open access).

Picture: untitled by Adem AY @ademay

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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