Week 9 Blog

I don’t think a reporter should attempt to ‘friend’ someone on social media to get additional information from them. I don’t think a reporter should do this because if the reporter sees something like a post or something the person has shared, they could attempt to use that to add to their story.

One example of using information that wasn’t given willingly is an article by Helen Lewis, when she writes about how journalists are starting to face more and more ethical problems with reporting using data that was taken by leaks or hackers. Even though someone ‘friending’ a source might not be hacking or leaking information, they’re still using information that wasn’t provided to them by the person who they’re looking up on social media.

I think that if a reporter needs more information on a person, they should reach out to the person over email to interview them again or to gain more information that’s needed. This is probably more ethical because people put personal stuff on social media that they might not want people outside their friend group to know. I also think that if a reporter ‘friends’ someone, they might forget to unfriend them and have to write a story about them later on again and they might be bias depending on how much they interact on the social media.


Lewis, Helen. When Is it Ethical to Publish Stolen Data? Neiman Reports.

One thought on “Week 9 Blog”

  1. Jacqui you bring up a good point about “bias.” If I friend someone because it’s the only way I can contact them (I can’t find their cell phone number), write that story after I reach out and interview them and maintain that “friend,” what if I wrote about them again? I suppose it could depend on the type of page you maintain, whether you identified yourself and reasons for why you reached out to them and if you were able to separate yourself. To be honest, I have a friend, who I am friends with on Facebook, because we ended up building a friendship after I wrote about her survival with ovarian cancer. I’ve written about Tracey several times, but I keep my professionalism separate from Facebook. I will reach out to her that way if I’d like to write a story and vice versa if Tracey is doing a fund-raiser and would like some publicity. We keep our personal and professional relationships separate and we have a mutual understanding, but how do I prove this? I think since I’m writing a feature story about Tracey it’s not as detrimental as if she were a public figure. For example, I would not “friend” the mayor and obtain information via Facebook or Twitter from someone in public office. It may be a balancing act, just as in media ethics, there’s never one right or wrong answer.


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