Reuters Asks Journalists Not To Break Stories Via Twitter

Reuters has released a new “social media policy” to instruct journalists how and when to promote stories and share breaking news over social media networks. Included in this policy is a mandate to not “scoop the wire,” or break stories via Twitter.

According to the policy’s intro:

We want to encourage you to use social media approaches in your journalism but we also need to make sure that you are fully aware of the risks — especially those that threaten our hard-earned reputation for independence and freedom from bias or our brand. The recommendations below offer general guidance with more detailed suggestions for managing your presence on the most popular social networks.

Reuter’s tips include “Think before you post;” “Avoid raising questions about your freedom from bias” by, for example, listing political or religious preferences on one’s Facebook profile; “Be transparent;” “If you use social networks for both professional and private activity then use separate accounts;” and “Seek the permission of your manager before setting up a professional presence on a social networking site.”

Additionally, Reuters advises journalists on how, specifically, to manage a Twitter account, including how and what they are to tweet. For example, journalists are encouraged to keep personal information out of professional Twitter feeds and avoid breaking stories via the popular networking site:

As with blogging within Reuters News, you should make sure that if you have hard news content that it is broken first via the wire. Don’t scoop the wire. NB this does not apply if you are ‘retweeting’ (re-publishing) someone else’s scoop.

What do you think of Reuter’s policies, especially those relating to Twitter?