Something I’ve learned in this world is every good relationship is built on compromise. You need to pick and choose your battles and always find a way to come to some sort of common ground and compromise.
That’s the case not only for romantic relationships or friendships, but also for your work relationships. Working in a world where you have a lot of old-school journalists butting heads with the more forward thinkers, it’s especially important. There are big things to fight battles over, like engaging more with your audience and going digital first. And then there are things that are not worth fighting about nearly as much. And there always needs to be some sort of room for compromise where everyone is somewhat happy in the end.
It’s why I liked Jeff Sonderman’s Poynter article about retweeting. He suggests using “NT” to suggest a “neutral retweet” rather than a “RT” (retweet) or “MT” (modified tweet). His article is in response to some fear in the journalism world a retweet can show bias.
Like many people I thought, “is this really that big of an issue?” A lot of us who work in social media every day understand how retweeting works and know what people mean when they do it. But it is an issue at some news organizations, like the Associated Press where they issued new guidelines on retweeting. It may seem silly, but if it’s an issues for news organizations Jeff’s suggestion might be a way to find some compromise.
Personally, I wouldn’t change how I retweet. I use “RT” or “MT” as a way to attribute what I’m quoting. The RT is like using quotation marks for a direct quote in a story where the MT suggests some paraphrasing. Of course, I always think about what I say in a tweet and the message it might send just like anything I might write or say. I have said, though, that we cannot erase any bias from the work we do as journalists. Even if I talk to every side of an issue and write a very straight article, I did choose to write that article over something else. I used my news judgment. It’s just the reality of who we are as humans.
In the end, just like so many other things, we need to find some common ground with each other. If there’s a compromise to be made so we can get back to work on the bigger issues, it’s a good thing to find it. Doesn’t mean to stop trying to evoke further understanding and change, but sometimes compromise is needed before we can get to the result we need.