Why has the ABC’s appointment of a Social Media Reporter given me the irrits?
It’s certainly nothing personal against the reporter herself, who’s shown admirable ingenuity, not to mention dexterity, in live-tweeting from doorstops and press conferences and then following up with radio news stories while regularly refreshing the content on her Facebook pages. If the ABC job was to report ON social media as well to USE it, then this journalist certainly would be the right person for the job.
But the role is to report on politics. The award-winning radio journalist will be attached to the ABC’s existing radio news and current affairs team and will be “part of a range of measures designed to explore how social media can be used to enhance and extend the ABC’s coverage of national politics”.
So in fact the ABC has appointed a new Political Reporter who will use radio and social media to file her stories. That’s not quite as sexy, is it?
And perhaps this is the nub: I am irked by the fact that the ABC sees the need to explicitly create a social media role – it is to my mind an empty gesture, a case of affirmative action gone mad.
If the ABC truly did see social media as a legitimate new way to report politics, then they would not have created a specific role for one reporter: they would have simply opened up the platform for all ABC reporters to use.