Exploring Twitter reporting and best practices in a South African news organisation
Twitter journalism is a new phenomenon with limited local research that identifies specific models for the dissemination of news that could be used in a South African newsroom context. Identifying best practises when using Twitter alongside a primary medium of news production is crucial to understanding how to harness the potential of this social networking site. Methods to train reporters in using Twitter as a journalism tool as well as an awareness of the ethical implications pertaining to the incorporation of Twitter in mainstream news, also need to be established. This article identifies Twitter journalism in the South African context by using a local news organisation, Eyewitness News (EWN), as case study. Self-administered questionnaires and interviews were used to collect qualitative data from reporters and senior editorial staff. Based on the findings, guidelines are provided for a localised Twitter journalism model, which could be used when developing media policies, newsroom production strategies, journalism training courses and ethical guidelines that encompass the use of social media tools as necessities in mainstream newsrooms.