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The problem with teasing the news

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When is using teasers bad news sense?

When they become the news, rather than deliver it.

At least that’s the argument Poynter makes when it reinforces the blog Journalistics regarding last week’s change in Zodiac signs.

It’s a lesson in ethics scholastic journalists could examine as they decide how to use social media to inform audiences of upcoming and current stories.

Writing in the Poynter article, Damon Kiesow noted coverage of the Zodiac “adjustment” swept media across the country. For example,a local Cleveland station pointed out how the signs of the 11 p.m. personalities had changed and how they felt about it.

“Instead of promoting the news, simply deliver it,” Kiesow wrote. “The best audience development strategy is to direct readers to your website or mobile app as quickly and easily as possible. Otherwise, as Wilson points out, viewers will simply bypass you for other sources.”

In Journalistics, author Kim Wilson wrote, “Social media users like to be involved in the news-gathering process, and when they see a hole in your reporting, they’ll fill it. Unfortunately, they will often fill it with someone else’s reporting.”

And, unfortunately for most media outlets, the initial story teases turned out to be misleading and incomplete.

Wilson also said traditional tease writing is not a way for social media – or traditional media – to accurately deliver a story. She links readers to ways she says news outlets can successfully use social media.

The stories and embedded links provide a worthwhile look at how incomplete, inaccurate and viewpoint-ridden social media teases can give audiences a sign something is not what it should be.

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