Dow Jones Writers Get Served New Twitter-Specific Conduct Rules

3 Comments

imageCodes of conduct and ethics are nothing new in newsrooms, but revising those rules with sites like Twitter and Facebook in mind is distinctly Web 2.0. That’s just what Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) has done; writers at the WSJ, Newswires and MarketWatch all received a new list of rules for “professional conduct” spelling out how they should (and shouldn’t) be using social and business networking sites.

E&P has the full text of the memo; one of the main rules is that writers should check in with an editor before “friending” contacts that could wind up being confidential sources. Writers are also instructed not to “recruit friends or family to promote or defend your work;” the e-mail concludes by reminding them that “business and pleasure should not be mixed on services like Twitter.”

The revised code of conduct also includes details about offline friendships, freelance work and public speaking arrangements, but the inclusion of Twitter and Facebook “etiquette” is just one more example of how social media has reshaped the business of reporting news.

Photo Credit: Samuel Mann

3 Comments

jgraziani

As a former journalist, public relations practitioner and community manager, I believe the writers are going to find it very difficult to ensure that they aren't "friending" or "following" someone who is a confidential source. Most likely, that source will be followed for quite a while before they have to become confidential on a story. During that time, they will be building a rapport and trust with the journalist as a provider of solid, factual info. I agree with Nic — better to hide in plain sight. Rethink this one, Dow Jones.

Nic Fulton

Some one ought to take a snapshot of friends of known Dow Jones journalists and note the defriends in a few months. We'll then know who some of the confidential sources are…

Seems to me that confidential sources would be best of hiding in plain view, so this policy seems counter to protecting confidentiality. The worse case will be when the confidential sources are good friends, known to a whole community of people (journalists or otherwise), but that this is weirdly not reflected on social networks…

GloPan

Yish! In other words, there'll be no joy in social networking for anyone at Dow Jones. Corollary: There will be very few people at Dow Jones who will really understand what it's about since why bother?

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