‘When journalists become lil’ Twittering birds’ by Eileen Yu, ZDNet Asia

Eileen Yu is senior editor at ZDNet Asia, where she oversees the business tech news site. She also does regular updates to the ZDNet Asia blog – B.T.W., often with rather interesting views on technology and social media. Here’s one particular article that caught our attention at EASTWEST:

Posted in By The Way by Eileen Yu on Friday, March 05 2010 09:24 AM It was bound to happen eventually. Love it or hate it, the entire ZDNet team is now on Twitter. We created a general account over a year ago that we use to push out news headlines, and anyone who’s following us will be updated once our stories are published. So, our tweets were pretty straightforward, carrying mainly headlines and URLs pointing back to the original articles. We then started to include on-site tweets, through which we would highlight issues discussed at press conferences and industry events from location, as they’re taking place. Even then, our tweets remained free from opinions and statements that couldn’t be substantiated by valid sources. As journalists, our primary responsibility is to produce news articles that reflect key developments in the industry accurately and impartially. Our opinions have no part to play in news stories, and commentaries that do carry our personal views are clearly demarcated so readers know to treat these differently. But, as Web 2.0 and social networks began to emerge and gain more prominence worldwide, I had to reconsider our approach of Twitter and reassess how else we should be using the platform. I’ve had apprehension about integrating the use of social networks and Web 2.0 tools in our work because it increases the likelihood that our opinions will be mistaken as news facts. For instance, if I updated my Facebook status with a statement expressing my frustration over how Microsoft Word often crashes, affecting my ability to meet work deadlines, would the software vendor be able to trust me to remain objective when I interview a company executive about the launch of the next version of Office? Thanks to social networks, it’s too easy and quick for anyone to broadcast their personal preferences, likes and dislikes, opinions and observations about their daily life. For journalists, that can introduce implications about their credibility and ability to separate their personal beliefs from their treatment of news. While such doubt had always existed–journalists are after all human beings with emotions–company executives wouldn’t typically know what our personal opinions were unless they took the time and sat down with us for a 1-1 chat. This changed with Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 platforms. It’s now too easy to access our personal thoughts anytime, anywhere, without meeting us first. But, I knew we would eventually have to expand our use of Twitter beyond simply pushing news headlines. It would provide a great way for readers to get to know the faces behind the bylines, and help build anticipation for upcoming media coverage. So everyone in my team now has his/her own individual Twitter account, which we use to highlight media interviews and events they’ve attended or are attending. Continue reading the full post here…

Source: ZDNet Asia

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