(Mashable.com) | March 11, 2010
Last night, Reuters released their social media policy, which includes instructing journalists to avoid exposing bias online and tells them specifically not to “scoop the wire” by breaking stories on Twitter.
The strict instruction makes it clear that even though news continually breaks on Twitter first — especially in disaster scenarios — Reuters journalists are to break their stories first via the wire and not on Twitter.
The social media policy in question also addresses a number of other Twitter, Facebook, and online concerns, offering up instructions and recommendations whenever possible.
For example, journalists are advised to get manager approval before using Twitter for professional purposes, have someone double-check their tweets before posting, avoid disclosing personal biases (especially political), and to separate professional and private activity with separate accounts.
The policy as a whole is a fascinating read and exposes that Reuters, as a media organization, is torn between encouraging employees to use social media and the realization that the online behaviors of their staff put them at risk, a sentiment expressed in the comment that these tools, if misused, could “threaten our hard-earned reputation for independence and freedom from bias or our brand.”