General: All contributors to TNJN.com are encouraged to have social media accounts to help gather and share news. Try to keep just one account per network that you use both personally and professionally. Editors should identify themselves as affiliated with TNJN.com in their profiles.
Neutrality: Unless you have written an approved opinion or editorial piece, you should not express an opinion on social media about politics or on an otherwise ‘neutrally’ reported story.
Retweeting: when retweeting comments or stories, include a comment of your own to make it clear the retweet is not your own opinion.
If you republish TNJN work on other websites or blogs, it must be clearly identified as TNJN content.
Sourcing: never assume that social media accounts are verified unless you’ve verified them for yourself. Don’t quote directly from social media without verifying the quote through phone, email or in person.
Corrections and Deletions: never delete posts or tweets. If something ends up being erroneous, correct it. This is because deleting may remove a post from the social account itself, but may still exist somewhere else if it’s been copied and reposted. Transparency with corrections will help credibility.
Erroneous information (whether on TNJN or any social media site) must be corrected as quickly and transparently as possible. Tweet or post that a mistake was made and exactly what was wrong.
For all writers: any errors must immediately be brought to the attention of an editor to handle the correction. Writers should NOT handle corrections before discussing with an editor.
Interaction with audiences on social media is permitted, but use your best judgment. If a reader points out an error, thank the reader and correct it. If a reader expresses an opinion, you may acknowledge it but don’t engage in a long back-and-forth. Keep exchanges professional and courteous. Sometimes it’s best not to engage: if in doubt, consult with an editor first.
Friending/following: you may end up friending or following sources in your stories. This is fine, but don’t engage in ‘friendly’ chatter with a source – it reveals a bias. This is particularly true if you’re covering politics. Again, use your judgment and consult an editor if you’re unsure.
Remember that nothing is private on social media! Consult with your colleagues if you’re unsure, and think before you post.
Rules for Covering Tennessee Athletics
JOURNALISM STUDENT REQUESTS
- Interviews with student athletes/coaches
- All requests must be made through the Tennessee Athletics Media Relations office
- Don’t try to set up interviews with student athletes on your own, even if you’re friends with the athlete.
- Give at least one week’s notice for interview requests.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY SESSIONS
- Several UT teams host weekly media availability sessions. Check with the corresponding media relations contact to see if you can attend these sessions.
REQUESTS FOR GAME CREDENTIALS
- Request game credentials early in a sport’s season for a particular game or match.
- For media-heavy sports, credential requests should not be last-minute.
- Make sure the media relations department is aware if we are splitting credentials on a game-by-game basis with another media outlet.
- Make requests for photos and video through the sport’s media relations contact.
- If you’re covering a game, that means you have a laptop with you, and you’re working in the press row or the press box. If you’re not working, you’re not part of the press.
- Research the sport and the team/players before you go to the game.
- Be aware of the team’s standing, its struggles, successes and storylines. Refer to these (as appropriate) in your coverage.
- Be respectful of players, coaches and the audience.
- You are not there as a spectator, you are there as a professional.
- Attend the postgame media availability. If attending in a group, all students should be prepared to ask questions, not just one.
NOT ALL events allow you to shoot photos and video. Make sure you’re aware of the regulations ahead of time and if you’re not sure, ask the media relations representative first.
Be respectful and attentive always: TNJN.com must uphold a reputation of high-quality coverage and professionalism.