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Most news organizations get that social media is important. And while many are embracing it, in a lot of cases social media is still kept in a silo.

But Sky News is looking to change that. It plans to install the popular Twitter client Tweetdeck on all of its journalists' computers in an effort to encourage them to incorporate social media into their news gathering efforts.

Ruth Barnett, Sky News' Twitter correspondent, told Journalism.co.uk:

The big change for us in 2010 is evolving how social media plays a role in our journalism. We no longer ghettoise it to one person, but are in the process of embedding throughout the whole team.

Of course, simply giving reporters access to social media tools isn't necessarily going to result in social media becoming a big part of the reporting process. That's because so many reporters are already using social media. At Sky News, more than 90% of the staff is reportedly on Twitter now.

What is important about Sky's move is the fact that the encouragement to bring social media into the journalism process is coming from the company itself. In the past, we've seen that social media can be a source of tension for news organizations. And oftentimes for good reason. After all, social media does create some thorny issues as far as journalistic standards are concerned and how reporters use social media can have a significant impact on the reputations of their employers.

But that doesn't mean that news organizations should try too hard to control social media. The cat is already out of the bag. At some point, news organizations will have to trust their employees, even if there are bumps in the road.

That's exactly what Sky News is doing: trusting its employees. And that's a good thing because, well, that's what news organizations should be able to do.

Photo credit: Daniel Voyager via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 8 January, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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