Excellence in Journalistic Use of Social Media Through the Eyes of Social Media Editors David A. Craig & Mohammad Yousuf Gaylord College, University of Oklahoma Purpose & Contribution • Purpose is to explore what constitutes excellence in journalistic use of social media. • The study contributes to the understanding of excellence and ethical challenges in social media at a time when best practices are not a settled matter. Reviewed Areas of Literature • Meaning of Excellence in Journalism • Role of Social Media in Journalism • Ethical Issues and Challenges in Journalistic Use of Social Media • MacIntyre’s Theory of a Practice Theoretical Framework Alasdair MacIntyre’s theory of a practice explains how standards of excellence in a field advance as the practitioners pursue excellence. According to MacIntyre (2007): • A practice is a social venture. • Excellence depends on standards rooted in best traditions of a practice. • Pursuing excellence leads to distinctive achievements, or internal goods, and reshapes the meaning of excellence. • Excellence requires virtues. • External goods (e.g. profit or status) threaten the process. RQ & Method RQ: How do social media editors understand the meaning of excellence in journalistic use of social media? Method: Interviews with social media editors. The authors interviewed seven editors. Interviews of two others were collected from the Internet. Social media editors interviewed by authors • Eric Carvin, AP • Chris Hamilton, BBC • Matthew Keys, Reuters • Craig Kanalley, The Huffington Post • Lauren McCullough, breakingnews.com • Meghan Peters, Mashable • Daniel Victor, The New York Times Journalists interviewed by others • Liz Heron, The Wall Street Journal • Andy Carvin, NPR Findings 5 elements of excellence: • Adherence to traditional accuracy standards with recognition of a new environment • Sophistication in verification practices • Sophistication in engagement • Tailoring use of social platforms • Adding value by being human (in use of tools and in transparency) Traditional accuracy standards recognizing new environment • Commitment to accuracy and verification • Varying levels of comfort with “process journalism” (Jarvis) Daniel Victor, New York Times: Showing the "sausage making" of journalism is sometimes valuable, sometimes not. Sophistication in verification practices • Multifaceted set of practices • Use journalistic judgment – e.g., evaluating Twitter accounts, history, retweets • Combine with technological tools – "forensic side" (Hamilton of BBC) Sophistication in engagement • • • • Beyond engagement for its own sake. Building communities by connecting in a way that is valuable to the community. Drawing users into the reporting process. Long-term commitment. Kanalley, The Huffington Post: "It's over a long period of time that you build up a community and you build up engagement." Tailoring use of platforms • Consider their strengths and their audiences • Facebook for conversation, people's stories and voices • Twitter for updating, curating, listening • Monitor development of the audiences and capabilities of new platforms Adding value by being human • Human choices that make the most of platforms' capabilities – e.g., "hashtag science" on Twitter (Heron of Wall Street Journal) • Transparency from individual journalists to admit mistakes and provide a "looking glass" into what they do (Keys of Reuters) Discussion • Study provides insight into how journalism as a practice (MacIntyre) may be developing as journalists integrate social media into their work. • Development of verification and engagement approaches expands capacity for story development and conversation. • Pursuing the five elements of excellence identified can advance "internal goods" such as inquiry and fostering of community.