Nisha Chittal


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Journalists share arguments for, against using same-sex marriage symbols on social media profiles

Yesterday, as the Supreme Court began to hear the case challenging California’s controversial Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign organization launched a social media initiative encouraging marriage equality supporters to change their Facebook profile pictures to a red version of HRC’s logo, an equal sign, to show their support for marriage equality.

The campaign quickly went viral, with thousands of Facebook and Twitter users changing their avatars to the red HRC logo over the span of the few hours on Tuesday.

Some journalists changed their avatars to the HRC logo to show their support for those they know who are unable to get married. In doing so, they blurred the lines between personal views and professional objectivity in social media.

Does changing your profile picture constitute taking a stance on a political issue — and does it compromise a journalist’s credibility? Read more


How to decide what can be published, what’s private on Twitter and Facebook

As more journalists rely on social media to find ideas and sources, there is increasing confusion about what’s acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to using material not originally intended for publication.

Recently, a college journalism professor found himself in the spotlight after he included a student’s Facebook page among documents he brought into a class on public records. Deadspin linked to the Facebook page of a Packers fan who seemingly took her cheating boyfriend’s game tickets in revenge. (Her page was deleted shortly after the Deadspin article, possibly because of the unintended attention).

And last year, a Tampa woman tweeted details of her sexual assault, within minutes of the attack, leaving reporters wondering whether to identify her.

Are tweets and Facebook posts from ordinary citizens fair game for reporting if the writers didn’t intend for them to be public? Read more


Are long and short form writing mutually exclusive?

In today’s publishing world, Twitter and the blogosphere are the new breeding grounds for many book authors, yet some writers express frustration when trying to strike a balance between the demands of both short and long writing. Some simply bow out when it comes time to write a book.

Yet, audiences want both short and long writing, often from the same writers. While many writers walk up and down that continuum, some find that certain content demands a certain length.

Forbes’ Lewis DVorkin earlier this month examined the strategies of two different Forbes writers on his blog. Each writer creates high quality content, generates conversation, and generates thousands of page views for, but each focuses on either long form or short form writing and excels at their chosen medium. Read more