Objectivity, impartiality and social media

This week, I found a short post on “Is it ethical for journalists to friend sources on Facebook or LinkedIn?” Some say yes, some say no.

This dives into my final paper topic. Most ethical guidelines presented by news organizations have some snippet on impartiality or objectivity. They are the same, but different. Objectivity means you are relying solely on the facts. Impartiality is simply means being fair, it means you have opinions but you are rising above those personal opinions to deliver the facts. If you’re still lost, Skeptic Ink wrote a very clear breakdown between the two. The American Press Institute wrote a piece on “The lost meaning of ‘objectivity’” explains where and how the concept of objectivity came about.

Now, when it comes to social media – it is more of a tool, or at least that’s how it should be used. Social media is something that should be utilized by the journalistic community, but properly. Friending someone on Facebook, following someone on Twitter or adding someone to your LinkedIn network — doesn’t exactly make you friends. Social media can be used to better journalism, to move it forward, but again — only if used properly. When it comes to the boundaries of social media, these tools should be used solely for networking on a professional level.

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2 thoughts on “Objectivity, impartiality and social media

  1. Thanks for noting API’s discussion of the roots of objectivity, Kareya. Quite relevant to a journalistic approach to social media that relies on verification, part of the process API ascribes to the original idea of objectivity.

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  2. Your post makes me think on how, in regards to thinking as a journalist and as a music industry professional, I should be proactively thinking about my actions on social media, especially thinking of objectivity and impartiality. I specifically leave my LinkedIn to a very professional social media profile but I didn’t think of how Facebook could affect my networking skills because I see it as a means of staying in touch with family and friends. After reading your post, I began to question on if journalists should only have a professional Facebook page specifically for the public’s interest or if they’re able to maintain professionalism on a private Facebook profile that can be connected or other industry professionals. It’s a fine line because I believe that most actions on social media are by impulse so a professional is going to have to actively think and make decisions in order to maintain that professionalism.

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