[UPDATED] Wall Street Journal memo tells staff: Uphold our no-bias tradition on Tuesday night

A Wall Street Journal election eve memo reminds staffers that “we have a longstanding tradition in our newsroom of refraining from partisan political activity, including partisan commentary in social media.” Thus, on Tuesday night “we all have a responsibility to uphold this tradition and need to avoid even the appearance of bias, including in our choices of what we re-tweet.” (Meanwhile, check out what WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch has been tweeting.)

From: [Assistant managing editor] Pensiero, Karen
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 5:30 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: Election Night Info

Dear Newsroom Colleagues,

A reminder that our official source for calling the election results is the AP. If you want to mention Tuesday night that another media outlet has made a call in a specific geographic location, please also note whether or not the AP has already called the race in that area. This applies to all platforms: video, social media, wsj.com, print, real time, blogs, etc.

Also, please remember that we have a longstanding tradition in our newsroom of refraining from partisan political activity, including partisan commentary in social media. Thanks in advance for remembering that we all have a responsibility to uphold this tradition and need to avoid even the appearance of bias, including in our choices of what we re-tweet.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,
Karen

* Earlier: AP tells its journalists to watch what they tweet on election night (jimromenesko.com)

UPDATE: The Washington Post’s election eve memo is after the jump.

From: [Washington Post executive editor] Marcus Brauchli
Date: November 5, 2012, 7:31:26 PM EST
To: “NEWS – All Newsroom”
Subject: Election Night

Colleagues, a few important housekeeping and logistics matters about the election:

1. Because many of you will be using social media, it’s important to keep in mind that The Post will make calls on the outcomes of specific races centrally. Until we have made calls on those key races, you should refrain from posting, tweeting or writing about a race’s outcome, except if you are attributing that assertion to other sources. In other words, if, say, CNN or Fox were to call one of these key races, you could say those networks had done that, but you should make clear the Post hasn’t yet made a call.

2. If you do want to tweet our calls, our preference is that you retweet the Post’s main account, @WashingtonPost.

3. Our judgments will be made by a decision desk, led by politics aficionado Len Downie. Len’s team will communicate rulings by email and on a map grid that will appear on the Source at http://toolbox/electres/12results.cfm. They will rule on the winner of the presidential race, as well as control of the U.S. Senate and the following specific races:

Arizona – President and Senate
Colorado – President
Connecticut – Senate
Florida – President and Senate
Indiana – Senate
Iowa – President
Maine – Senate
Maryland – Referenda (in conjunction with Local)
Massachusetts – Senate
Michigan – President and Senate
Missouri – President and Senate
Montana – Senate
Nevada – President and Senate
New Hampshire – President
New Mexico – President and Senate
North Carolina – President
North Dakota – Senate
Ohio – President and Senate
Pennsylvania – President and Senate
Virginia – President and Senate
Wisconsin – President and Senate

4. Local will handle local races, except for those above.

5. In any case, a reminder on using numbers in stories: Avoid citing vote totals unless you have final results. Otherwise, remember to tell readers what proportion of the vote has been tallied, as in: With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, candidate A was leading Candidate B by 37 votes.

6. Our meeting schedule tomorrow will change. There will be no 9 a.m. senior editors’ meeting. The 10 a.m. meeting will become a standup on the Universal Desk, run by Emily Tsao. We’ll play the afternoon meeting by ear.

7. Finally, remember that the Newsroom on election night is a public space. In addition to extensive live video reports from the newsroom, there will be cameras set up capturing the scene as we work and streaming those images.

Many thanks to everyone for the hard work and preparation–especially the truly excellent signage–that has gone into coverage planning for tomorrow. And please let us know of any amendments or modifications we need to make to this or other aspects of our plan for tomorrow.

Marcus
Liz
John
Shirley

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