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Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

Social Media Stupidity

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The Shop Talk panelists discuss examples of bad judgment by reporters using social media.

In one recent case, a smiling TV reporter posed on top of a pile of rubble at a home burned down by an arsonist. She wore purple rubber boots and wrote, “Fashion on top, rubber boots for the debris.”

In another case, a TV reporter had her photo taken at the scene of a double murder and explained she was smiling because it was the final day of her work week.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said their actions reinforce the negative perception many people have about reporters.  She said common sense should prevail, but also suggested it might be wise for news organizations to establish a social media protocol.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said the reporters showed a “gross insensitivity” to the victims. She also said they made the stories about themselves – something good reporters don’t do.

Panelist Rich Egger questioned whether the reporters in these two cases really want to be reporters or whether they’re using journalism simply to be on TV and become famous.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.