Journalistic standards on Twitter

In Uncategorized on 2009-01-12 by Kyle Maxwell

Do normal journalistic standards apply to professional news organizations using Twitter?

Normally, journalists have legal and ethical obligations to maintain some level of objectivity and neutrality. Thus, when they report on a crime, they refer to the “suspects” rather than the “criminals,” the “alleged” actions, etc.

Does this apply to their Twitter comments as well? The Dallas Morning News uses Twitter fairly extensively, but their main Twitter account this morning had this to say:

Remember the child abuse Santa Letters? They were fake. Kids’ mom was looking for a visa out of it.

But when you read the story, really the attorney for the accused stepfather was presenting their response (namely, that the letter was fake). I don’t know the true story, but I do know that either way, just presenting the response as completely true violates normal journalistic standards.

So what do you think? Do journalists and news organizations have a responsibility to maintain objectivity in their 140-character tweets, or does the medium change the message?


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