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AP Stylebook

AP Stylebook

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Published by zeb dropkin

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Published by: zeb dropkin on Jun 02, 2010
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SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
What does the term social media mean?
 The term social media reers to tools that allow the sharing o inorma-tion and creation o communities through online networks o people.
What are some examples of social media?
 There are many dierent maniestations o social media – and new ones are being developed all the time. Some o the most common types:* Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, where peopleconnect with one another, orm communities around common interestsand share content, like news stories, videos, photos and general updateson what’s going on in their lives.* Blogs, which are generally written by a single person or speciiedgroup o people, but where comment ields oten allow or a broader dis-cussion among readers.* Microblogging sites, like Twitter, where a user can send short bits o inormation publicly that can also be delivered to those who choose to ol-low that user.* Wikis, where content is collectively created by those who choose toparticipate in the process.* Content-sharing services, like YouTube (or video) and Flickr (or pho-tos, video, etc.), where anyone can upload content or easy sharing anddiscussion with others on the Web.* Online orums, where participants can share ideas, debate topics andget help with everything rom how to roast a turkey to how to take a lap-top apart.* All sorts o other sites, rom dating services to collaborative essay- writing projects.
How do journalists use social media in their work?
It varies rom journalist to journalist, but these are some commonuses:* To track down sources – in particular, people who witnessed a newsevent or were directly aected by it.* To gather user-generated content, like photos or videos, that a newsprovider may want to acquire and distribute/publish as part o its newsreport.* To look or news tips or discussion trends that might lead to or orma story.* To produce short-ormat original content, such as blog items.* To ind new sources and keep up with existing ones.* To interact with news consumers directly to inorm their reportingand to promote their work.* To share links that provide an additional entry point to existing con-tent.* To get a preliminary sense o how members o the public – or at least social media users – are reacting to an event.
    S   O   C   I   A   L   M   E   D   I   A   G   U   I   D   E   L   I   N   E   S
 
SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES — 315
How, in all formats, do you vet sources found through socialmedia?
 The general rule o thumb is that you should apply the same principlesused in vetting a source ound any other way. But there can be additionalchallenges, since it can be diicult to veriy the identity o sources oundonline.Most importantly, you should never simply lit quotes, photos or videorom social networking sites and attribute them to the name on the proileor eed you ound them under. Most social media sites oer a way to senda message to a user – use this to establish direct contact, over e-mail or phone, so you can explain what you’re working on and get more detailedinormation about the source.I a source claims to be an oicial rom a company, organization or government agency, call the place o business to conirm identity, just as you would i a source called on the phone. And i the source provides ac-tual inormation that’s central to a story, always pursue at least one ad-ditional source or conirmation.I you come across photos, videos or other multimedia content that you would like to use in your news report, you’ll need to veriy the authentic-ity o the piece o content. You’ll then need to determine who controls thecopyright o the material and get permission rom that person/organiza-tion to use it.Use particular caution i you ind a social networking page or eed that appears to belong to a person who is central to a story, especially i youcan’t get conirmation rom that person. Phony accounts are rampant inthe social media world, so examine the details to determine whether thepage could have just as easily been created by somebody else.
How should social media not be used?
Social networks should never be used as a reporting shortcut whenanother method, like picking up a phone or knocking on a door, would yield more reliable or comprehensive inormation. For example, i a key question in a story is only partly or indirectly answered by a tweet sent by a government oicial, don’t settle or that – reach out to the oicial to indout more. (Though the tweet might also be worth reporting.)
 
316 — SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
aggregator
A website or eed that amasses content romother sources and assembles it ina orm digestible to its users.
API
Abbreviation or 
applica- tion programming interface 
. A programming ormat/interacethat a website or a piece o sot- ware uses to allow other websitesor sotware to interact with it. For example, an API in eBay’s websitelets auction listings appear onother sites.
app
Short or 
application 
. A program that runs inside another service. Many cell phones allow 
applications 
to be downloaded toexpand their unctions.
 App 
is ac-ceptable on second reerence.
avatar
A version o yoursel that you put orward in an onlineor video game setting. Sometimes bears a strong resemblance to theuser; at other times, it is used toact out antasies o a wished-or identity.
blog
A website where short entries are usually (but not always) presented in reversechronological order, with thenewest entry frst. Can be news,commentary, photos, video or any combination o the above andother items. Blogs can also bedistributed outside the websitecontext via RSS eed.
Bluetooth
A standard or short-range wireless transmis-sions, such as in headsets, that enable hands-ree use o cellphones. 
click-throughs
A way o measuring how many people click a link online to see its destina-tion site. Click-throughs are otenused to set advertising rates.
crowdsourcing
The prac-tice o asking a large collection o individuals online to help gather inormation or produce ideas. Twitter is one common platormused or crowdsourcing. A blogger or journalist might crowdsourceideas or his or her writing, or company might crowdsource a commercial rom amateur videosubmissions.
curate
The practice o select-ing, packaging and presentingcontent to the public online in a more personal and hand-picked way, as opposed to automatednews eeds. Oten used in con- junction with social media.
e-book
The electronic,nonpaper version o a book or publication, sold digitally andcommonly consumed on an
e- book reader 
or 
e-reader 
, such as Amazon's Kindle.
emoticon
A typographicalcartoon or symbol generally usedto indicate mood or appearance,as :-) and oten looked at side- ways. Also known as
smileys 
.
e-reader
Or 
e-book reader 
.Devices such as Amazon’s Kin-dle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook andSony’s Reader used to display electronic books and other digitalpublications. Other devices, in-cluding laptops and Apple’s iPad,have e-reader sotware that canperorm similar unctions.
Facebookfan, follow, friend
Actions by which users connect to other users on social networks.
Friend 
 and
 fan 
are typically used on Fa-cebook, while Twitter users
 follow 
 and have
 followers 
. Acceptable as both nouns and verbs.

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