Thursday, September 12, 2013

Good reads for the new social media policy debate

Two earlier posts give context in the current discussion about Gannett's new social media policy:


  1. Its pretty simple when you work for a media organization: remain professionally impartial. That extends into your personal life. Gannett has a reputation to convey, and as an employee, you do, too.

  2. agree - since when did common sense become so uncommon

  3. I once worked at a Gannett site (Lansing) where I brought up the fact that a slew of workers' cars parked in the Gannett-owned company parking lot were peppered with election-related bumper stickers. The lot was visibly marked with the newspaper's name. Coincidentally, this was during a mandatory ethics training session with the EE. He and some of the other seasoned reporters in the room jumped down my throat for the question. Acting as if it was wrong of me to ask if all of those bumper stickers fuels readers' speculation that the newspaper is no more than a one-sided propaganda machine for a particular party. That is why I find it curious that there have been issues with employees who post politically charged messages on their private web accounts. It seems to me that a bunch of bumper stickers supporting a particular candidate in the employee lot does more to damage a newspaper's credibility than a "less-visible" Twitter post. Allowing the stickers on cars in the employee lot always seemed akin to placing a bunch of campaign stickers on the newspaper building. It seemed like the compromise would have been to not allow the cars to display the stickers while on company property. Any thoughts?

    1. That's fine, as long as the newspaper agrees not to endorse any political candidates. If employees aren't allowed to endorse, then why is the paper allowed to endorse?

    2. Because readers know, even if they're skeptical, that the editorial page in theory does not influence news coverage.

    3. You honestly believe that 6:16?

  4. Reposting this here from last night: During Guild negotiations, public discussion of company shortcomings on social media and other news sites is an important part of the process. And, Guild members supposedly can't legally be fired for union activities. So how does this policy affect union members?

  5. Thomas Paine in the ass9/13/2013 9:43 PM

    Common sense says you don't put a bumper sticker on your car for a candidate in a race you potentially could be covering. And commons sense says you don't post a comment on your social media account that says vote for a particular candidate in your coverage area.
    The concern is that this policy overreaches, especially if your Facebook account is set for "friends only". I Googled myself, just to see what comes up. You know what didn't come up? Any of my Facebook posts on my private or my company accounts.
    The concern is that the policy overreaches and has a lot of gray area in the phrase "anything that reflects badly on the company."
    I could complain on my social media accounts about being served a lousy meal at a local restaurant. I could complain about the local sports team or who they played that day. I could comment about more potholes on a state highway. I could post a joke or a meme that some nebulous person at corporate decides reflects poorly on the company. None of the aforementioned have anything to do with journalism or your job. But this policy doesn't say where the line is and that is why it is a bad policy. We have a constitution and a bill of rights and this policy treads damn close to infringing on them.
    my advice to corporate: Go back to the drawing board and this time involve the peons that work for you.


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