[Listicle] It's Okay To Step Back: Four things journalists can do to stay engaged with current events , without becoming consumed by social media [Written by Shae McCoy]

Image Source: CNN Money

Journalists are expected to keep up with everything that is going on in our crazy world. They are expected to break the news when anything drastic happens. They are the ones that you depend on to stay updated and informed. Journalists are supposed to know everything, right?

Well, I am here to tell you that journalists get tired too. As a journalist, do you ever feel like you just don’t want to deal with whats happening in the world? Need a brief escape? Feel like at times you need to delete your social media? Even when we feel like that, there is another voice in our heads that says,

As soon as you log out you are going to miss everything.

That voice is what keeps us running like lab rats. We never want to miss out on a potential story. There’s so much going on in the world at the moment; more tragedy than triumph. Things that have recently been in the news whether it was social media or actual T.V., such as the Kenneka Jenkins murder case, the tragic hurricanes, and the most recent Las Vegas mass shooting, have people believing anything that they hear. On social media these topics have people thinking they are journalists, distributing facts based off of blind observations. This could confuse the public and potentially be dangerous especially when most of us read articles on the go for information on developing stories. We have become lazy when it comes to research.

As a journalist, I definitely get frustrated when people don’t wait for facts before they make conclusions. Some of us journalists are guilty of it too. I’m here to tell you a few ways that you can step back from the distractions and still produce your best work.

  • Avoid Social Media Debates

People will question your concern about a situation by what you post on social media. LET THEM. As a journalist, you have to have a strong backbone. It is ok to skip an argument or two. Most people who spark debates on social media, especially Facebook, got their “facts” from there and have nothing else to back up their dispute. Continue to be the investigative being you are and don’t get distracted. Anything you are feeling about a specific topic can be expressed through your reporting.

  • Wait for facts, it’s okay not to be the first to break the story.

We see it all the time. Something might happen, for example, Las Vegas mass shooting. Outlets were pushing stories and conspiracies before any facts were released. It is definitely okay to wait to report on a serious matter. You don’t ever want to produce rushed work. Wait for the details, you gain more credibility that way.

  • Log Out, (for God sake!)

Take some time to actually enjoy the world. We are not robots and we have emotions. After a while hearing, reading, and writing about all of the negative and positive things happening in the world gets redundant and stressful. It is okay to log out of social media for a day or a few days. Pretty sure you won’t miss anything as news tends to linger for at least week before we move on to something else.

  • Get into the habit of looking at sources outside of social media for information.

Social media may seem like the fastest and most convenient way to look for information, but it can be tricky. There are a lot of ways that people can manipulate content to make it sound like it could be true. Use your journalist instincts, if something sounds fishy, it usually is. Start looking at sources outside of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t be lazy,  look at the news, and open up those articles and search for key elements that make that article credible. If the events you cover are local, try to actually go to the scenes and get as much information as you can. Push yourself to even reach out to people involved, even if you don’t get a response, at least you know you made the effort and didn’t just rely on social media to do the work for you.