On Monday, I had the pleasure of being one of the few people to Skype with Aaron Edwards, the mobile editor of Buzzfeed News. When speaking with him, he brought up a topic that has become very controversial in the careers of up-and-coming journalists: Do journalists have to maintain their professional reputation on all of their social media platforms? Or can their Twitter, Facebook, etc., maintain a social platform that showcases personality more than professionalism?
As Edwards was speaking, I scrolled through his Twitter feed. It was filled with comments on the Super Bowl halftime show and his infinite love for Beyoncé, with tweets like “Bey is like ‘imma sing this damn song but imma still hit my angles and find my cameras.’” He dispelled the myth that social media had to be completely serious and professional, arguing that showing personality is not a bad thing in the industry. However there is a line that can be crossed; businesses aren’t going to want to see a scandalous picture of their journalist posted for the world to see.
He went on to dispel more myths, arguing that all journalists must live in New York City, the home of Good Morning America, The New York Times, and much more. After having interned in New York City for The New York Times, he decided that New York City was not the place for him. He found success and happiness outside of the city, eventually becoming an employee for Buzzfeed.
One final topic that really stuck with me was when Edwards stressed the importance that hard-hitting journalism and less serious topics can coexist without causing conflict. He talked about how he loved theatre when he went to Ithaca College and wanted to incorporate it with his journalism studies after he graduated, which he went on to do so.
Edward’s story was inspiring; it’s instilled a hope in me that journalists don’t have to lose their individuality to get a career. Rather, it’s their individuality that may give them the dream career they’ve always desired.