Over at Poynter Online they have been discusiing ethics with regard to journalists using social media tools. (via Journalism.co.uk)
Using the as a case study they came up with the following guidelines
1.Making connections is good. And journalists should ensure they are using a full array of tools for gathering information, including face-to-face interviews and shoe-leather reporting.
2.Journalists must compensate for the skew of online reporting. You are likely to find younger, whiter, more affluent sources online. Journalists should constantly strive for diverse representations in their stories.
3.Information gathered online should be independently confirmed offline. Interview sources in person or over the phone whenever possible. Verify claims and statements.
Ensure informed consent. It's easy for sources to misunderstand your intentions. It is your responsibility to tell them who you are, what you are doing and where your work will run.
4.Take special consideration with children and other vulnerable people. When contacting children, make sure they connect you with a responsible adult.
5.Be transparent with the audience as well as sources. Let them know how you contacted people, in what context you gathered the information and how you verified it (or didn't).