Public news consumption and journalistic objectivity and accountability in the social media era


The values of both traditional and new media seem to have merged as the popularity of social media as news platforms has significantly grown in recent years. Public news consumption also seems to be shifting away from traditional to digital media. Journalists should keep up with the changing media landscape and not take journalistic principles like objectivity and accountability to the public for granted now that news and information can be accessed with just one click.

As journalists increasingly use social media in their work, it seems they need to be reminded of two important principles in their line of work — objectivity and accountability to the public — amid developments like dubious sources and trend lists as reported below:

  • Columbia Journalism Review revealed how phony news sites trick journalists and how the news industry seems to consider errors related to reporters’ use of questionable information as a “forgiveable sin.”
  • NYU technology researcher Danah Boyd said that recent controversies regarding Facebook’s “Trending Topics” go beyond the issue of neutrality. She asserted that Facebook must be accountable to the public because it is among “powerful” institutions that need checks and balances in the interest of the responsible functioning of society.


Here are other interesting posts in our reading list:


  • Facebook announced that it has developed a new AI called “DeepText” that can understand textual content with “near-human accuracy.”
  • Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his opinion on how he would address the problem of media killings in the country in a recent press conference. He said that the journalists who are corrupt and who accept bribes were “legitimate targets for assassination.” Meanwhile, journalists’ groups in the Philippines have slammed Duterte’s statement about the problem of media killing in the country.
  • Facebook has taken down reporter Ed Lingao’s post against former President Marcos’ burial at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani,” citing violation of “Facebook community standards.” Some Facebook users have called out the site for violating press freedom and reposted Lingao’s article on their timelines.
  • The UK’s National Environment Research Council (NERC) got itself in a tight PR situation when it crowdsourced the naming of its new ship and “Boaty McBoatface” got the most votes to be the name for the new research vessel. Here are some lessons on brand control on the Internet.
  • A recent study suggests that “Grammar Nazis,” or people who are obsessed with correcting others’ grammar mistakes, may not be nice people after all.
  • Mobile livestreaming apps like Facebook and Periscope need a waiting room to keep people entertained while they wait for their livestreams to begin.
  • Is today’s “selfie culture” bad for our brains? Philosopher-psychoanalyst Elsa Godart discusses the impact of “egoportraits” and how there is a real danger of losing the connection and consciousness of the world around us.
  • Paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger has found markings around Europe that may point out how writing began.
  • Do you want to know how productive people send their e-mails? This article provides six ways on how to do it.
  • Gmail is now the world’s largest e-mail service. Nathan McAlone shares 17 tips and tricks that will change the way you use Gmail.
Image: “Survey Delves into Journalists’ Social Media Habits” by Marketwired Blog. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license
Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

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