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OK, that might not be breaking news, but as the general population learns and grows with the ever-changing world of “social media,” so, too, do journalists — print, radio and television.

As a reporter for a community newspaper, I’ve understood the need to make my job more relevant — providing daily news updates via our Web site, Twitter account and Facebook page.

When I offered to create the Sewickley Herald‘s Twitter and Facebook pages, I first considered what our marketing brand would consist of. Yes, that’s right, a reporter considered how to promote and brand a product.

But part of managing a multitude of Internet platforms comes responsibility — especially for journalists. Reporters across all mediums are to remain objective in our storytelling, and that ideal continues with online content.

Unlike our printed product, the Herald’s online material needs to engage readers who become fans and followers. Engaging readers has been the most difficult part. I’ve had to toe the line of upholding journalistic standards while being able to roll up my sleeves — so to speak — and be an active part of the discussion.

I’ve closely watched other reporters — both local and national — through their social media endeavors. Locally, I’ve noticed my colleagues on the television side take a much more light-hearted approach to social media.

Many news organizations have been slow to react to utilizing online content, and while a variety of reporters have jumped on board, not all understand the need to continue a professional appearance.

Yes, they offer local news and information, but they are very open about having opinions that can — at times — hinder their professional appearance. It’s something that makes me question what their goal is — offering an additional outlet for content and growing the news organization brand or making a name for themselves outside of the brand.

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to follow the belief that I’d only post something on our Facebook or Twitter accounts that would go into our newspaper. That means no judgments, opinions or reviews. For the most part, I’ve been able to do that. My news brand has not been hindered by my posts.

With more reporters and news organizations jumping on board, it is important each of them determine their focus. But through any new media platform unveiled, reporters should make it a point to stay true to journalism.

The way readers get the news might change, but reporters always should hold themselves to the highest regard.

Note: The views expressed above are those of Bobby Cherry and not necessarily those of Trib Total Media.

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Author: Bobby Cherry

Bobby Cherry is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He has worked at the Trib for three years where he is a reporter for the Sewickley Herald and also files stories for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He also has reported for other Trib Total Media newspapers, including the Times-Express, Signal Item and Trib p.m.

Along with reporting for print editions of Trib Total Media newspapers, Bobby oversees the Herald’s online news content, including daily posts at and at the Herald’s Facebook ( and Twitter ( sites.
In March, the Herald received the “Best Application of Social Networking Tools” award in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s annual Newspaper Excellence in Cyberspace awards. The Herald was entered under its parent company, Trib Total Media, for the 75,000-plus circulation division.