From Digiday | Controversy around newsrooms’ social media policies emboldening the call for unionized media workplaces


The following story originally appeared in the Digiday: 

The discussion around newsrooms’ social media policies following the AP’s firing of Emily Wilder over her tweets has opened up a can of worms for publishers.

Guidelines may be necessary to ensure that journalists understand what is and isn’t appropriate to post online as representatives of the media organizations they work for. However, enforcing strict punishments on reporters for their behavior on social media can cause ripple effects of anger and mistrust in newsroom workplaces, contributing to the increase of unions forming across the industry.

The social justice movements of last year brought the issue of journalists’ personal rights vs. professional obligations to the forefront at newsrooms. Journalists who use social media to promote their stories, find sources, engage with readers and discuss their reporting often found it difficult to keep silent. Meanwhile, some newsroom leaders struggled to find the right way to reign in outspoken reporters on social media while also allowing them to use the platforms as a reporting tool. The situation has highlighted a divide over the subject of journalistic objectivity and put a spotlight on the role unions play in protecting journalists from harsh punishments for a contentious tweet.


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