Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Reporters struggle with balancing their professional and personal identities on social media, study says

Can journalists separate their professional and personal identities on social media? That was one of the questions researchers from the University of Utah and Temple University examined as part of a research paper, “Identity Lost? The Personal Impact of Brand Journalism," published in Journalism, an international, peer-reviewed journal. Researchers wrote: "If journalists choose to present too much of a personal identity, they risk punishment by their employers," the researchers write. "If they present only a professional identity, they risk offending their audiences."

The study found that reporters "are increasingly focusing their attention on developing their professional identities on social media rather than their personal identities," Denise-Marie Ordway reports for Journalist's Resource. Researchers say "reporters have been asked to make changes to the way they present themselves and their content on social media, including adding their news organization’s logo to their social media pages and providing fewer links to news items that were not published by their employers. They also have been asked to help promote events and partnerships that might cast their news agencies in a positive light."

Researchers say reporters struggle with balancing their professional and personal identities online, Ordway writes. "There still is uncertainty among reporters and editors about acceptable practices on social media, especially as they relate to personal branding and company branding." Another problem is that "reporters are being asked to read and respond to social media posts at all times, which they view as an added burden among a long list of job responsibilities." (Read more)

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