The Wall Street Journal has posted some ground rules for its employees on how to use Twitter. Among other things, it declares “Let our coverage speak for itself, and don’t detail how an article was reported, written or edited.”
And the policy now requires that staffers get editor approval before “friending” confidential sources. It also tries to dissuade them from aggressively promoting their own work. And there’s a missive to not discuss articles that haven’t been published or interviews conducted. Some of the rules follow the common-sense guidelines that my colleague Doug MacMillan recently covered in our Social Media report. But others seem to fly in the face of what social media is all about.
Our policy hinges on adhering to the same journalistic ethics that we use in print. But we also believe that readers increasingly want to engage in a conversation about the subjects we’re covering. Colleagues like Stephen Baker and Michael Mandel have used their blogs and tools like Twitter to seek reader input on a story before the final version is posted.
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