Washington Post unveils new social media policy to think before you post

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Weeks after the very public online boost rocked the newsroom, Washington Post Management issued a new set of guidelines for the use of social media on Thursday. The main takeaway: Think before you post.

“Social media platforms can be useful as a reporting tool and enhance our ability to find new audiences, but it’s important to remember that the social media accounts run by Washington Post reporters…inevitably reflect the reputation and credibility of The Post,” began the internal memo emailed to staffers on Thursday and obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast. “Post-journalists should not feel obligated to engage or post on social media platforms, except for those whose roles explicitly require it. Postal journalists who choose to use these platforms will have to do so. responsible manner.

According to the new guidelines, which had no specific attribution, “a Post reporter’s use of social media must not harm The Post’s editorial integrity or journalistic reputation.” With the great power of a “blue tick and additional subscribers,” comes “our collective responsibility to protect that integrity and that reputation,” newspaper officials reminded staff members.

The memo specifically mentioned being more mindful of retweets, likes or shares – no doubt a reference to political journalist Dave Weigel’s retweet of a sexist post that got him suspended and kicked off a week of drama in the newspaper. The Job did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on its new policy.

Liz Seymour, the Job’s deputy editor for news operations and planning, thanked staffers in an email for “all their help and feedback” received in drafting the policy, which went into effect on Thursday. It came three weeks after editor Sally Buzbee said the paper would update its social media policies – policies that ultimately led to Weigel’s suspension and the firing of political journalist Felicia Sonmez. .

“Your thoughts and suggestions have been essential to these efforts,” Seymour wrote.

Additionally, still in the wake of this month’s internal drama, the memo added that “it is not appropriate to use your social media account to express personal grievances with an individual or to mention a undertaken in a way that could be construed as unwarranted criticism or seeking special favor or treatment.

“The values ​​that define a Washington Post reporter — professionalism, empathy, collegiality, and fact-based focus — must be demonstrated on our social media accounts and in our interactions with our colleagues, competitors, and wider audiences,” a- he declared. “Social media is not the platform to engage in conflict with your colleagues.”

The outlet had a two-year and often strained relationship with the development of a new social policy, the one that predated Buzbee’s leadership. A committee of nine rapporteurs on the Posts The national office had provided recommendations for revamping its old social media policies, which dated back to 2011, but many had not been incorporated.

The committee’s April 2020 memo, which was sent to then-national editors Steven Ginsberg and Lori Montgomery, was leaked to reporter Ben Smith two months later.

The memo also made sure to remind employees not to become leakers. “Employees can and should expect internal editorial communications not to be made public,” he said. “There may be occasions when The Post, in the interest of transparency in our work, will publish internal documents on an external platform.”


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