Reuters memo: Exercise caution on social media

In recent days, I’ve posted memos from the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reminding their staffs about social media rules and what’s acceptable to tweet on election night. (By the way, @APStylebook let us know this morning that it’s “Election Day but election night and election results.”)

Reuters just sent this memo to staffers:

From: Freedman, Alix (Reuters News)
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 11:52 AM
To: US-News
Subject: The election and social media

All,

On election night we want to take the opportunity again to urge you to exercise caution on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. We welcome your participation. But a premature tweet, for example, announcing a candidate’s victory before a race is clearly decided, or a tweet or retweet indicating any preference for a candidate may raise questions about our campaign coverage and our dedication to accuracy, fairness and freedom from bias.

Please also keep in mind that our exit poll results are exclusively for our internal use, at least until the pertinent races have been called and we have made the relevant exit polling data public.

As the handbook says, “Reuters journalists should be mindful of the impact their publicly expressed opinions can have on their work and on Reuters. … Before you tweet or post, consider how what you’re doing will reflect on your professionalism and our collective reputation.”

If you have any questions regarding tonight’s coverage and Twitter, feel free to contact me.

Thanks and best,

Alix

Alix M. Freedman
Global Editor, Ethics and Standards
Thomson Reuters

* Election Day: The worst day for headlines in all of American journalism (tnr.com)
* Recalling the great Dan Ratherisms from three election nights (about.com)

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