Is it OK for a journalist to friend or follow a source?

Social media is evolving more and more in the field of journalism. But is is ethical for a professional journalist to follow their friends or their sources on social media? In a Online News Association (ONA) article tilted, “Social Network and The News: Key Issues” it has different suggestions on this particular topic. The  article suggests that in an impartial news organization, journalists should be very cautious when it comes to friending and following sources. Reason why is because journalists may have an anonymous source/friend that could be put at risk.

In an other news organizations the article suggests that, journalist shouldn’t friend colleagues working underneath them. Reason why is because some newer employees may feel like their forced to accept there friend requests.

In an American Journalism Review (AJR) article tilted “To Friend or Not to Friend” reported that, “Reporters have not received much in the way of managerial guidance on this subject, and there tend to be no established guidelines.” But journalists often worry that accepting a source’s friend request can create an conflict of interest.

Poynter journalism website issued an article titled ,”7 ways journalists can make better ethical decisions when using Facebook.” One of the suggestions are,” journalist should avoid interacting with politicians or sources on Facebook.” Another is that, you should “keep your audience trust in mind.” Always keep in mind that that it’s all about your audience opinion and not your own.

Over the last few years social media have created a good tool for journalists to use, but the main question journalists should ask themselves before they click the “Add Friend” button. The question they should ask should be: Is it ethical?

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