The New York Times issued guidelines for its reporters on their social media accounts, including warnings to “not to express partisan opinions” or “promote political views.”
Executive director Dean Baquet wrote in a memo that “[i]n social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’ journalistic reputation.”
“We consider all social media activity by our journalists to come under this policy. While you may think that your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts are private zones, separate from your role at The Times, in fact everything we post or ‘like’ online is to some degree public. And everything we do in public is likely to be associated with The Times,” the memo warns.
The memo follows a panel discussion at George Washington University where Baquet said his journalists need to be consistent in their comments on social media.
“I feel pretty strongly that New York Times journalists should not be able to say anything on social media that they cannot say either in the pages or in any of the platforms of The New York Times.”
The memo also includes guidelines for reporters to be transparent and open about errors in their reporting, and to reflect “a diverse collection of viewpoints” to avoid looking like any side is preferred in public discussions, especially in retweeting other people’s comments and thoughts.