By: Mandy Mitchell
We are all under a lot of pressure to post stuff on social media these days. I’ve heard many stations even have quotas for the number of times you have to post to twitter or Facebook or Instagram. It’s become a huge part of the job.
I also understand a lot of us are in a journalism bubble when we are out covering stories. We see old colleagues during coverage of big stories and it’s always nice to see old friends even when it’s not the best of circumstances.
I think we can all learn something about what happened this past week in Orlando. An old colleague of mine, Suzanne Boyd, posted this selfie to her twitter page. She used the picture to tease live coverage of the Orlando massacre coming up at 6! The point was to show she is in Orlando with so many other reporters from around the state. The problem is, she is clearly smiling in the picture.
You can see the response that photo got—not from viewers–but other journalists.
I have known Suzanne for a very long time and I think she is a tremendous journalist. Just to give you an idea of what a veteran she is, she’s has been at WPEC in West Palm Beach since I worked there in High School. This was a poor choice and just goes to show you even the most seasoned among us can make mistakes on social media.
NBC Weatherman Al Roker is another recent example of a TV personality who lost his sense of tone. He posted this picture during the floods in Columbia, SC last year. I’m betting the driver of that car behind him, and the people who lost homes, were not joining him in the joy.
Roker later apologized for the post calling it “insensitive.”
We must remember where we are when we decide to put ourselves in the picture. If you are seeing old friends on the scene, and using that to bring some joy to a bad situation, that’s great! Take a selfie for YOU and don’t share it with the masses. I would argue not taking a selfie at all on a crime scene, but you get the point…
Too many journalists get caught in the bubble and the rush to provide content, that we forget why we are doing this in the first place. There are PEOPLE behind every story we do. 49 PEOPLE died in Orlando in that nightclub. People lost brothers, friends, and sons.
Many PEOPLE lost everything during that flood in South Carolina.
Before you take a selfie, take a few minutes to think about the people behind the story you are covering. Think about the tone you wish to set on air and consider whether a selfie is appropriate for the occasion.
There are many options for pictures on social media that do not include you. Try to remember when you are in a “No Selfie” zone.