Thursday, November 03, 2011

AP Talks about the "Objectivity Ethics" of Retweeting (Thank You, Poynter Institute from Whence This Came)

Associated Press
The Associated Press has added a new entry on retweeting to its social media guidelines. Staffers are reminded to keep their opinions to themselves.
Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day.
Disclaimers — like “retweets do not constitute endorsements” — do not protect AP staffers if they violate these guidelines.
Previously, the guidelines — which were last updated in July — said simply that staffers “are welcome to retweet and share material posted by official AP-branded accounts on social networking sites (e.g. @AP, @APStylebook, etc.” Read the full update below, from Tom Kent, AP’s deputy managing editor for standards and production.
Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying. For instance:
RT @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT @dailyeuropean at last, a euro plan that works
These kinds of unadorned retweets must be avoided.
However, we can judiciously retweet opinionated material if we make clear we’re simply reporting it, much as we would quote it in a story. Colons and quote marks help make the distinction:
RT Jones campaign now denouncing smith on education: @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT big European paper praises euro plan: @dailyeuropean “at last, a euro plan that works”
These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements.


Edward said...

I can't think of any reason why a 'journalist' should be retweeting at all. This is a paid job. It is the journalist's posts should be re-tweeted.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Provocative, Ed, provocative. So you don't think it's an exercise in branding and in "value added for followers" for a journalist to share information that is relevant to readers but is not something of use in a story the journalist is actually working on? Isn't this gatekeeping on small scale??

qroth said...

Is this to say that journalists should have separate twitter accounts for their professional use and personal/opinionated use? That would almost negate the mission or usage of twitter.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Yes, qroth, that's my understanding of how Twitter for Journalists is supposed to work. You share tidbits up to and including personal items, carefully vetted naturally. As Tiffany Maleshefski, or her hubby, told us during her Saturday session, when you retweet, the expectation is that you add a little something, a bit of insight or context or opinion, to build your brand. Or so I thought they said?