Yes, the media is often biased. We try to give the media a chance and hope for the best, but too often the bias goes a bit too far.
Enter CBS reporter Alix Bryan. Bryan works for Richmond, Virginia’s WTVR CBS6 station and before changing her Twitter bio Saturday she claimed she was a social media expert for WTVR CBS6 station. According to Bryan’s LinkedIn account she has worked for CBS since 2012 and specializes in social media and multimedia. In her WTVR CBS6 bio, Bryan claims she’s an experienced micro-blogger (i.e. Twitter). Seems she is so “experienced” she knows enough she doesn’t have to keep her online behavior ethical and professional at all. She blatantly violates commonly followed Associated Press ethics.
Earlier this week she joined the anti-Memories Pizza frenzy and took part in the false reports and bad reviews by reporting Memories Pizza Go Fund Me page as fraud– really! She angrily tweeted about the pizza parlor, but when her tweets got attention, she appears to have lied about her intentions.
Then, Bryan posted the following in a tweet, along with the comment along with “Thank you for the support”:
On Wednesday, I made several tweets via my personal account after a pizza place in Indiana told ABC 57 that they would not cater a same-sex wedding.
I have strong opinions on the subject which I expressed on Twitter, and I did so on my own account – not as a representative of my employer.
That same night I came across a GoFundMe campaign that was not created by Crystal or Kevin O’Connor the owners of the pizza place. I was concerned that the GoFundMe account might also be a fake, especially after seeing someone had created a fake “Memories Pizza” website, and I thought somone could be attempting to selfishly benefit.
I reported the campaign to GoFundMe’s fraud page so they would look into its veracity. I searched for the name of the person associated with the GoFundMe account and reached out via social meidia and didn’t receive a response.
This had nothing to do with my job. I never wrote a news report on this matter. I participated freely in social media discussions only on my personal account, expressing my own views, and I regret that my posts may have reflected negatively on my employer.
My intent was to stop what could have been theft of donations. There is no way that 140 characters could encapsulate my personal opinions surrounding this topic, or others, and I do regret if my abbreviated opinions have been misinterpreted to hurt people, or cause disruption; that truly was never my intent.
My intent was to prevent possible swindling, not to create a hateful conversation. In the future my actions will be more measured and I apologize for those affected.
I pulled up a few tweets from Bryan that showed us what kind of a professional Twitter journalist she is (in reality, she comes across extremely biased and anti-Christian):
I have some concerns regarding ethics after reading Bryan’s tweets. I checked my Associated Press Stylebook 2014 and Bryan has clearly broken several of the AP’s guidelines from her Verified Twitter account, while claiming to be a social media “specialist”. This unprofessional behavior is extremely offensive and down-right wrong. It reflects badly on media in general and further tarnishes a profession that should hold themselves to a high standard!
All journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally.
Employees must identify themselves as being from [our news organization] if they are using their accounts for work in any way. You don’t need to include AP in your Twitter or other usernames, and you should use a personal image (not an AP logo) for the profile photo. But you should identify yourself in your photo as a staffer.
Employees may not include political affiliations in their profiles and should not make any postings that express political views.
First, trash-talking about anyone (including a team, company or celebrity) reflects badly on staffers. Assuming your tweet will be seen by the target of your comment. The person or organization you’re deriding may be one that a colleague is trying to develop as a source.
Second, if you or your department covers a subject– or you supervise people who do– you have a special obligation to be even-handed in your tweets. Whenever possible, link to a copy, where we have the space to represent all points of view.
Posts and tweets aimed at gathering opinions for a story must make clear that we are looking for voices on all sides of an issue.
WHAT?! Really? What ethics!