NPR Staffers Get Lesson In Social Media Use After Twitter Incident
July 9, 2014 at 4:41 AM (PT)
NPR is warning its staffers to be more careful on social media after Education Team blogger ANYA KAMENETZ accidentally used the NPR Education Twitter account to post a complaint that she "reach(es) out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me. :(" Although she immediately clarified, "That was not the best wording. But I'm trying to get at a serious issue" and later took personal responsibility for the tweet, the incident drew much criticism, and JIM ROMENESKO is reporting that the NPR staff got a memo from NPR Standards and Practices Supervising Editor MARK MEMMOTT reminding them that "there is no privacy on the web, and 'personal' pages are not safe zones."
MEMMOTT wrote, "(W)hat we say can reflect on NPR and raise questions about our ability to be objective. MATT THOMPSON offers a test. Before posting something about your work or a news event or an issue, even if you’re putting it on what you think of as a personal page, ask this question: 'Is it helping my journalism, or is it hurting my journalism?'"
Quoting from the network's Ethics Handbook, MEMMOTT added, “We acknowledge that nothing on the Web is truly private. Even on purely recreational or cultural sites and even if what we’re doing is personal and not identified as coming from someone at NPR, we understand that what we say and do could still reflect on NPR. So we do nothing that could undermine our credibility with the public, damage NPR’s standing as an impartial source of news, or otherwise jeopardize NPR’s reputation. In other words, we don’t behave any differently than we would in any public setting or on an NPR broadcast.” He also said that the network considers retweets as endorsements, contrary to what some social media users think.