When Swedish Radio (SR) released the first edition of our Social Media Handbook for Journalists in 2013, social media was still very much new and uncharted territory for journalism.
Today, some years later, we have learned a lot about how we can use social media as a tool in journalism, for dialogue with the audience, for networking, and for research. Working with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has been professionalised at newsrooms and other content departments – here at Swedish Radio and in other media corporations.
But development does not stand still of course; on the contrary, things around us are changing at record speed and so there remains a lot to learn.
This Guide is the logical continuation of the previous two versions of Swedish Radio's Social Media Handbook. It is written in blog form, so that we can update parts of it as the media landscape and conditions on the internet change, and as we learn more.
Audio and voices are fundamental to SR’s activities, and we work intensively to develop our activities, always with audio in focus. It’s our business to do so. We want to make it easier for the public to find and listen to our news and other programmes digitally.
At the same time, Swedish Radio must be where the audience is; that is part of our public service broadcaster remit – that everyone has the right to independent content from Swedish Radio. The audience is closer to us than ever before thanks to social media. Consequently, one of our strategic priorities moving forward is to cultivate an active relationship with those who listen to what we do. An invigorating and stimulating dialogue through digital and social media platforms is part of this.
But the increased contact between people online, and in the comment sections, also has a downside; hate, threats and harsh language is an everyday experience in social media for people of all walks of life, be they ordinary citizens, journalists, politicians or other people in positions of power. How to prevent, as well as deal with, online threats and hate is something that we also cover in this guide.
We want to use the relationship we have with the audience to create relevant, living radio – and innovative original journalism. We also want to be there for the audience as its trustworthy guide, regardless of how people choose to consume media.
Just like in the previous social media handbooks, we are releasing this guide as free for anyone to read and use. I hope that you will benefit from it, and not hesitate to contact us if there is anything you think is missing.
Cilla Benkö, Director General of Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio)