ESPN became the latest media organization to issue an update of its guidelines for the use of social networks and, much like those of other industry representatives — including The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters — much of it is simply common sense.
Some of the highlights from the new ESPN guidelines:
- Think before your tweet: Understand that at all times you are representing ESPN, and Twitter (as with other social sites) offers the equivalent of a live microphone. Simple rule: If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in a column, don’t post it on any social network.
- Think before you retweet: Intended or not, the dissemination of others’ tweets under your name represents an endorsement of that content — and can even be interpreted as information you personally are reporting. If you retweet inaccurate or inappropriate content, it can tarnish your credibility and that of ESPN.
- Do not break news on Twitter: We want to serve fans in the social sphere, but the first priority is to ESPN news and information efforts. Public news (i.e., announced in news conferences) can be distributed without vetting. However, sourced or proprietary news must be vetted by the TV or digital news desks. Once reported on an ESPN platform, that news can (and should) be distributed on Twitter and other social sites.
- Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from your supervisor. Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content or ESPN marks are not permitted.
- If ESPN.com opts not to post social content created by ESPN talent, those individuals are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss, or give opinions on sports-related topics on personal platforms.
- Keep internal deliberations confidential: Do not discuss how a story or feature was reported, written, edited, or produced; stories or features in progress; interviews conducted; or any future coverage plans.