The promises and pitfalls of reporting within chat apps and other semi-open platforms: A journalist’s guide

Media organizations have often struggled to adapt their newsgathering and reporting to the reality of disparate news consumption habits and a public that increasingly favors peer-to-peer messaging platforms and social media networks over more public forums. There are challenges for all journalists in discovering and verifying stories we don’t “own” or can’t attribute to other known opinion-formers. There are ethical dilemmas, too, in journalists seeking to insert themselves into unfamiliar online communities, either openly or undercover. But is there more we can — and should — be doing as journalists to move our reporting closer to the communities we seek to serve? Is there still value in news journalists dwelling in social media platforms where participants are routinely attacked before they’re heard and where media manipulation is so dominant? And if so, can and should journalists look a little deeper into this local beat and seek greater insight from digital
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