One of the best read items on this blog in recent times has been the post about the Australian Financial Review limiting reporters’ rights to use Twitter and other social networking sites. The AFR, though, is not alone. Read this piece from the Washington Post ombudsman about a new set of guidelines concerning staff use of Twitter. A key section of the new guidelines reads:
When using these networks, nothing we do must call into question the impartiality of our news judgment. We never abandon the guidelines that govern the separation of news from opinion, the importance of fact and objectivity, the appropriate use of language and tone, and other hallmarks of our brand of journalism.
Now, I would be interested to know what people think about this. It seems to me that one of the things about journalism that is likely to change in the new interactive media world is that po-faced, faux objective voice we have all grown so used to hiding behind.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should ditch disinterested journalism, or our slavishness to evidence in our attempts to report the truth. But we all know, don’t we, that true objectivity has very little to do with a kind of writing that pretends there is no personality behind the words, no set of preconceptions or world view?
Isn’t a human voice, and a true interaction with audience, potentially a richer way to arrive at something we might call objectivity?
Thanks to Peter Clarke for bringing the Washington Post item to my attention.
UPDATE: More on Tweeting and Sacred Cows