Social media tools like for example microblogging platforms have a lot of advantages. News organizations like CNN use it to engage viewers in conversation and big brands like GM and Jetblue also communicate via Twitter. But there are of course occasions when these channels are not appropriate to use and Berny Morson, a reporter at The Rocky Mountain News, demonstrated poor judgement on Wednesday this week when he decided to tweet the funeral of a 3-year old boy that was killed by a pickup truck the week before.
Covering a tragic indicent like the loss of a small child, and in particular the very emotional setting during a funeral, requires a great deal of respect for the privacy of the people involved.
“We’re at this emotional service and there was this reporter non-stop text messaging,” Mike McPhee, a Denver Post reporter said. “How would you not notice?”
With tweets like “the father is sobbing over the casket”, Morson in my view clearly crosses the line for what is ethical. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.