The secret life of a 21st century journalist
By Sarah Millar
A blog post by former Star radio roomer Alex Posadzki got me thinking about what it means to be a journalist in the digital age.
In her post, Posadzki muses about her so-called "double life" — her professional one and her personal. She's so concerned about the two that she has two separate Facebook accounts, two email addresses, two different circles of friends.
And never the twain shall meet.
It got me thinking about how different being a journalist is today than it was even just 10 years ago.
While the Internet has made our jobs infinitely easier (for better or for worse), it also has made our lives a lot harder.
After all, journalists tend to be held to a higher accord than other people — they're supposed to appear unbiased, report the facts, keep their opinions in check. Sure, that was easy before the Internet — and social media — reared its ugly head, but now journalists are in trouble.
They're being disciplined or fired for things they say on Twitter. They're trying to decide murky, ethical issues (like should a source be friended on Facebook?). And on top of all of this, they're trying to create a personal brand in order to better market themselves in these tough economic times.
So what's a 21st century journalist to do?
There are no concrete answers. News organizations and employers have yet to figure all this stuff out for themselves — social media policies are almost non-existent or incredibly vague.
Is Posadzki right? Do we need two accounts everywhere in order to keep the personal, personal and the professional, professional? I'd wager no.
All these social media platforms come with privacy settings — Facebook can be customized any way a user wants. My advice is to get to know them and use them however you see fit. Personally, I keep my Facebook private, but my Twitter is open to all.
Is being a journalist harder in the digital age? It may just be, but that doesn't mean you should ever feel you have to hide who you really are for fear of being found out. It's who we really are deep down inside that makes us great journalists.