November 06, 2011

#AP, new media and job/life segregation

The AP has issued official guidelines about staffers (doesn't just say writers) retweeting tweets they get from people who follow them, etc. I agree with the story, the stuff below is the pull quote:
Everyone who works for AP must be mindful that opinions he or she expresses may damage the AP's reputation as an unbiased source of news. AP employees must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in demonstrations in support of causes or movements. This includes liking and following pages and groups that are associated with these causes or movements.
Sometimes AP staffers ask if they're free to comment in social media on matters like sports and entertainment. The answer is yes, with a couple of reasonable exceptions:
First, trash-talking about anyone (or team or company or celebrity) reflects badly on staffers and the AP. Assume your tweet will be seen by the target of your comment. The person or organization you're deriding may be one that an AP colleague is trying to develop as a source. Second, if you or your department covers a subject--or you supervise people who do--you have a special obligation to be even-handed in your tweets. Whenever possible, link to AP copy, where we have the space to represent all points of view.
That said, this gets back to the issue of unbiased media, whether such an ideal is achievable, and, even more, the he said/she said of modern mainstream media.

If I'm some far-right think tank (there are no far-left ones of any size), do I have somebody on staff who monitors AP political writers, science writers (climate change), etc., to see who all they retreat, to try to "prove" that they're biased? For all I know, this is already happening.

Beyond that, the third sentence of the first paragraph is ridiculous. It doesn't say such "liking" is limited to a person's professional Facebook account. It's saying that, even online, you have no right to personal opinions as part of a personal life.

That said, the AP has been almost as clueless on such issues as other media umbrellas, member newspapers, etc.

1 comment:

Thomas Gamble said...

Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more, thanks for your information.