Weeks after very public online beefing roiled the newsroom, Washington Post management on Thursday issued a new set of guidelines for using social media. The main takeaway: Think before you post.
“Social media platforms can be useful as a reporting tool and strengthen our ability to find new audiences, but it is important to remember that social media accounts maintained by Washington Post journalists… inevitably reflect upon The Post’s reputation and credibility,” began the internal memo emailed to staffers on Thursday and obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast. “Post journalists should not feel compelled to engage or broadcast on social media platforms, except for those whose roles explicitly require it. Post journalists who choose to use these platforms will be expected to do so responsibly.”
According to the new guidelines, “A Post journalist’s use of social media must not harm the editorial integrity or journalistic reputation of The Post.” With the great power of “a blue checkmark and added followers” comes “our collective responsibility to protect that integrity and reputation,” the paper’s brass reminded staffers.
The memo specifically mentioned being more mindful of retweets, likes, or shares—undoubtedly a reference to political reporter Dave Weigel’s retweet of a sexist post that got him suspended and kicked off a week’s worth of drama within the paper.
Furthermore, again in the wake of this month’s internal drama, the memo added that “It is not appropriate to use your social media account to air personal grievances with an individual or to mention a company in a way that could be construed as unwarranted criticism or seeking favor or special treatment.”
This is a developing story…