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.

Filipinos’ electoral engagement as seen on social media


Social media seemed to have played a distinct role in the recent Philippine national elections. The run-up to the May 9 polls was marked by high engagement as Filipinos typed with vigor and/or fury, voicing out their opinions and support for their candidates through the means of social networking sites. This led to the Philippines landing a spot in Twitter’s “Top Social Media Countries in the World.”

Meanwhile, teenagers, comprising most of the social media users’ population, have been a challenging audience for some sectors, especially those who perceive the youth as having low awareness or interest in details about history and Philippine politics. As the recent electoral period has seen, however, using social media as a catalyst can become a game changer for campaigns to consider in capturing the youth’s attention for future elections.

Here are more stories of interest:

  • Peabody Awards and Facebook team up for the launch of the Futures of Media Award, which is described as the “new prize honoring excellence and innovation in digital storytelling.”
  • Studies from Pew Research Center and Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor Lab explore how the Internet affects what and how we read.
  • The New York Times, along with Associated Press, has decided to stop capitalizing the word “internet.”
  • Garner’s Modern American Usage becomes Garner’s Modern English Usage as the new edition integrates an “inclusive approach to World English.”
  • Typography, believe it or not, can have life or death consequences, especially on road signs.
  • For writers, The Atlantic author Ian Bogost writes a review about Freewrite, a smart typewriter made for writers who don’t want distractions from the Internet.
  • Twitter recently made changes within its interface, such as making usernames, photos, and videos no longer part of the 140-character limit and providing the option to retweet one’s own tweets and replies.
  • Facebook’s “Trending Topics” feature is once again under controversy when leaked guidelines allegedly show the involvement of editors, instead of algorithms, in selecting news for said feature.
  • Jeff Jarvis, in a piece for the annual Tinius Trust report titled “Death to the Mass,” explains why “media must rebuild its business around relevance and value, not volume,” and how the Internet changed the old mass-media business model.
  • Scammers have been lurking in the Internet for their next victims, so let this be a call to protect ourselves while navigating the social networking sites safely.
  • Social media can also be a tool in saving lives as demonstrated during the tragic landslide in Aranayake, Sri Lanka last May 19.
  • Different cultures define the concept of deadlines depending on how people perceive time.
  • Our work environment can have a negative effect on our mental health, according to the Mental Resilience Survey.
  • Here is an infographic with seven ways on how to stay calm under pressure.
  • A 10-minute mind cleansing routine is always handy for a boost in clarity and creativity.
Image: “The 2016 Elections” by Angelo Lopez (AAEC). 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.

Technology and changes in the workplace

Less than a year since Samsung’s Note 3 and Apple’s iPhone 5 were released, we now have the Note 4 and the iPhone 6. Technology is rapidly changing; so is almost everything around us. In this post, we share some readings about changes in the work environment, their impact, and what possibly lies ahead.

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On mojo, mental virtues, and other work and career tips

Whether you work as part of a team in a corporate setting or solo as an independent contractor in a home or virtual office, our key Web picks this period turn some commonly held work notions upside down. For instance, if you think that the company that hired you is responsible for your career, you’re wrong. “Your career is YOUR responsibility. That’s right, YOUR responsibility.”  You must not turn in mediocre work and you just have to keep on proving that you are an asset to the company.

Also, if you think that your company’s work culture — its mojo — could be improved but you’re stumped because you think everything is pretty much set by management and nothing can be done, think again. There are ways for employees to make an impact on a company’s mission, passion, and vibe.  One of them is by owning up to one’s role. There are at least six other ways to make things better.

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PH National Language Month and updates on editing and journalism

The Philippines celebrates Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) this August and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has lined up several activities including a series of seminars on official correspondence, a three-day translation congress, and a book launch. This year’s celebration highlights unity with the theme: “Filipino: Wika ng Pagkakaisa.”

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Media ethics in focus

Ethical standards for media practitioners are among our key themes this issue, amid two events that shook the world in the last fortnight – the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in the Ukraine and the exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. When media organizations compete against one another in a frenzy to satisfy the public’s desire to quickly know what is happening in the world, some practice standards – information verification, for instance – may be overlooked. A case in point would be why the media reportage on MH-17 was wrong at first on the number of AIDS researchers – supposedly 100 – who were on the plane.  Why did a journalist who went through some luggage items while covering the crash site feel compelled to apologize for his “error of judgment”?

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Regaining control of your career and your social media timeline

“[T]ime spent poking around in a library in the past led to great ideas. It’s unclear if the same is true for time spent online,” said Stanford philosophy professor John Perry in an article on The New York Times encouraging today’s social media-attentive generation to reclaim their real lives. In this issue, we offer tips on how you can regain control of your career development and your timeline.

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On Social Media Day, the evolving journalism landscape, bits of work and life lessons, and more

June 30 is World Social Media Day. During last week’s commemoration of the event, people all over the world took to Twitter to share how social media has affected their personal and professional lives and communities using the hashtag “#SMDay.”  Aside from this worldwide sharing, various pundits also wrote on how social media is currently used, as well as the boon and bane of it all. Considerable media mileage was also allotted last week to the largest social networking site, Facebook, and a 2012 “experiment” it did on users’ posts. Read on:

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Discipline for improvement, teamwork for innovation

Seemingly taking a cue from competitive sports – as the 2014 Football World Cup opened in Brazil early this week — our favorite readings this issue explore the subjects of discipline for improvement and teamwork for innovation, which are key result areas in today’s competitive and hectic workplace. Discipline, said legendary graphic designer Massimo Vignelli, enables self-improvement and allows us to “offer the best of ourselves to everything around us, including every project on which we work.”  Teamwork through the combination of team members’ “separate splices of genius” can result in a “single work of collective genius” that marks “truly innovative” groups.

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On Maya Angelou, success, and other things to learn

Phenomenal author, poet, activist, and actress Dr. Maya Angelou died at 86 on May 28. Her life and lessons inspired people, from writers and activists to hip-hop artists and scientists, to be their best selves. Social media users paid tribute by sharing Dr. Angelou’s inspiring words, one of them is on lifelong learning: “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.” So here are some pieces from the past two weeks to help us keep learning:

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