One of the Los Angeles Times managing editors, Marc Duvoisin, sent out an email memo on Friday that reminds newsroom staffers that their tweets and Facebook posts are public and considered extensions of the paper's journalism, as much as writing a story or headline. Keep your opinions about the candidates off social media, he wrote. I don't know whether a specific tweet or posting sparked the memo, but I'm not surprised at all that the editors are a bit nervous. Some Times writers and editors seem not to realize, or to care, that tweets in particular are on the record and public. There's a fair bit of commentary about the presidential campaign and California issues in the collective tweets of LA Times staffers, and it seems the editors want to remind the journalists that their words are being watched.
From: "Duvoisin, Marc"
Date: July 22, 2016 at 9:17:23 AM PDT
Subject: Political opinions and the news
As one of the most interesting and contentious presidential campaigns in recent memory dominates the news, it’s important for all of us to remember to keep our personal political opinions out of our news coverage.
That includes social media posts. When you write on Facebook, Twitter or other platforms as a staff member of the Los Angeles Times, you are publishing journalism on behalf of The Times.
Don’t use your social media feed to pan or praise candidates, parties or their positions. Political opinions are no more appropriate there than they would be in articles you write for the newspaper and latimes.com – unless you’re a columnist or Opinion writer whose job is to express political opinions.
This is a longstanding policy, not a new one. If you have any questions, please consult your editor or review the newsroom ethics guidelines, which speak to this issue in several places.