Posted November 24, 2009 11:38 am by with 10 comments

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LA TimesThe LA Times has updated their social media guidelines for their journalists and there is the usual ruckus about everyone being too restrictive. Originally written in March of this year the update makes sense since the 8 months or so that have passed since the first take is like a lifetime in the social media world. In fact, the real story here may be that the LA Times hasn’t taken a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to their social media guidelines so please take note everybody.

Editor & Publisher and the Huffington Post are both talking about the updates. Interestingly enough, I heard about it from @michacha101 who is one of those people that I have no idea why I follow on Twitter but have gained value from doing so. Having said that (and given them a plug) I am learning more about the openness of the social media environment and the value that can be taken from it. Journalists drool over this kind of exposure and availability of information. Trouble is that for the sake of ‘objectivity’ or ‘political correctness or whatever there will always be rules and regs that restrict just how effective the medium can be.

The Huffington Post tells us that some of the LA Times policies include

  • Integrity is our most important commodity: Avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass The Times or compromise your ability to do your job.
    Assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them.
  • Even if you use privacy tools (determining who can view your page or profile, for instance), assume that everything you write, exchange or receive on a social media site is public.
  • Just as political bumper stickers and lawn signs are to be avoided in the offline world, so too are partisan expressions online.

There’s a lot of detail that I am leaving out here and here’s why. I have to give the LA Times credit for being on the ball. You see the Huffington Post had only one comment but it was from Andrew Nystrom / L.A. Times social media guy / @AdNys who was completely transparent by saying:

Thank you for writing about our new Guidelines. For the record, here are links to:

– The full text of our revised Social Media Guidelines: — our original Guidelines were issued in March 2009, before the WaPo or WSJ (and most other major media outlets) issued theirs.

– Our directory of 200+ L.A. Times(@lat¬imes)-rela¬ted Twitter accounts:

– The full text of our 2007 Ethics Guidelines (currently under revision):

Hope this is helpful. I welcome all feedback.

Nice move.

So let’s recap. As a result of the social media ‘world’ I got data from someone that was of interest, that was about information that can be seen both positively and negatively depending on your point of view but was ultimately made completely transparent by the source which ultimately reflects positively on them. Pretty cool.

So if you really think that people care about where you are walking and what you see it’s likely that you are just really enamored with yourself. What people really want is information that helps. Thanks to everyone who helped here.

  • Thanks Frank for posting the most balanced take I’ve seen about our updated Social Media Guidelines — (I found your post via @BrentDPayne’s tweet).

    I’d emphasize that they are intentionally couched as guidelines, and not set-in-stone Policy, since our Standards & Practices committee (of which I’m a member) appreciates that the social realm is fluid, and that a set-it-and-forget-it approach will fail.

    Looking forward to following you on Twitter and continuing the convo,
    ~ Andrew / @AdNys / LA Times social media guy

  • @Andrew – NP. I am just starting to realize that while traditional journalists are called to stay on both sides of the fence there is possibly too much room on the blog side to get unbalanced real fast. Of course, that’s [art of the fun of blogging but when it gets over the top it becomes a caricature of itself. Keep up the great work and thanks for stopping by.
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Social Media True Colors – Seeing Red =-.

    • Sure thing, Frank. I neglected to mention that folks can find more than 200 @latimes-related Twitter accounts via — we add new ones frequently, often based on reader requests. There are a couple Tweepml links atop that page that enable one-click following of multiple accounts.

      I’d venture to say that our newsroom’s embrace of and engagement with this thing called social media is as progressive and aggressive as any major news organization, at least in the English-speaking world.

      You might enjoy some of our 40+ blogs, too: 🙂

      Happy holidays ~ Andrew / @AdNys

  • The first one has to be my favorite:

    “Integrity is our most important commodity: Avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass The Times or compromise your ability to do your job.”

    Apparently, what they really mean is that the appearance of integrity is their most important commodity. Journalists shouldn’t post anything that might embarrass the Times, even if it’s the truth.

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  • Great post! Thank you!

  • There are many webmasters who wish to organize, manage, store and search bookmarks of websites with the help of keyword to find the relevant website. Through Social bookmarking system many webmasters save their links online so that people can know about their site. These bookmarks are saved with two options public or private, if private option is chosen while saving bookmark then nobody can see this bookmark and if it is set to public then bookmarks can be seen by all over the world.

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  • Los Angeles Times is only one news paper which are connected with people all time, I also read it daily Los Angeles Times & The New York Times but I receive breaking news faster from LA Times.

    Peter James {Canada}

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