ARTICLE: American TV stations are going “social media first”

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Majority of local American television stations are taking a “social media first” approach to publishing news, write Anthony C. Adornato, of Ithaca College, and Suzanne Lysak, of Syracuse University. The authors surveyed 131 American news directors working in local TV.

Most stations (78 per cent) have a written social media policy, and additional 17 per cent have unwritten rules of social media conduct. The rules pertain to, among other things, to associating with sources, expressing personal opinion, and breaking news.

Interestingly, most stations require (68 per cent) or encourage (25 per cent) reporters to make social media posts about the news they cover. Furthermore, 63 per cent of stations consider social media to be the approriate place to break news – even before the station’s own website.

Most stations either require (28 per cent) or recommend (47 per cent) reporters maintain separate professional and personal accounts – and most stations (66 per cent) retain the ownership of the professional ones. This means that a journalist leaving the newsroom may well lose his or her social media followers.

The article “You Can’t Post That!” was published by the journal Electronic News. It is available online on the publisher’s website (free abstract).

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