The New York Times (NYT) is updating its policy on how its journalists should use micro-blogging website Twitter. The new policy emphasises the social media platform is optional to protect the staff from online harassment.
The memo says reporters “can rely too much on Twitter as a reporting or feedback tool” and “can be overly focused on how Twitter will react” to their work. Baquet adds that journalists “can make off-the-cuff responses that damage our journalistic reputations.”
Translated into policy, this “reset” means that a social media presence “is now purely optional” for journalists. (It wasn’t mandatory before, but Baquet acknowledges that newsroom pressure to be on Twitter was real and significant.) Reporters can still be on Twitter, of course, but those who remain are encouraged “to meaningfully reduce how much time you’re spending on the platform, tweeting or scrolling, in relation to other parts of your job.”
A Times spokesperson told Insider: “What Dean is calling for is a reset in our newsroom’s approach to Twitter and other social media platforms. He’s telling our journalists that there’s no expectation that they individually need to be on social media.”
The masthead editors are more obsessed w/ twitter than the majority of the newsroom, stalking down employees every reply. Saying they’re going to police that even *more* is counterproductive, damaging to journalists, especially those who need to use the internet for reporting
The Daily Beast reported that the policy change is a response to criticism from reporters, most recently by Taylor Lorenz, who moved on to Washington Post. She had slammed the NYT's handling of online harassment and social media used of its journalists.
I appreciate the flexibility that these new guidelines offer. Reporters who were dragged kicking and screaming to Twitter can now leave without thinking their online silence will show up on their performance review. But a lot of journalists really like being on Twitter, and they don’t see their accounts as just another pipe through which their employer’s journalism can flow. That tension remains eternal.
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