Because The Daily Tar Heel’s strategy next year involves social media more than ever, we felt it would be helpful to establish a policy to guide reporters on how to use it. My goal was to create a policy that emphasizes the value of social media while sets some standards so as not to embarass the paper.
In general, we plan to trust our reporters to know what is acceptable and what is not. We’re going to accompany this policy with training at the beginning of the year on how to use social media.
10 rules for using social media:
- Use your own name and photo. If you using your account for DTH reporting, identify yourself as a DTH reporter in your profile.
- Tell your editor if you plan to tweet as a DTH reporter. Likewise, let your editor know if you plan to livetweet something.
- In general, do not post something online that would not be appropriate to run in the paper.
- You must disclose yourself as a DTH reporter to potential sources the same way you would if you were meeting face-to-face.
- Do not disclose political affiliation on profiles and do not write about your political preferences in updates.
- Do not criticize a colleague’s work.
- Promoting your work via social media is encouraged.
- In the interest of transparency, staff meetings are considered open unless otherwise stated.
- It is acceptable to “friend” sources, but do it evenly. For instance, if you cover the Chapel Hill Town Council, if you wish to follow one member on Twitter, you should follow all of them.
- Respond to people who contact you via social media. If you aren’t the appropriate person to answer their questions, refer them to whoever is.
I want to make it as easy as possible for readers and sources to contact DTH reporters and place a high premium on transparency. My experience with social media is that it’s expanded my reporting capabilities and made me more responsive to our readership, and I wouldn’t want to limit other reporters.
Feel free to comment with suggestions/improvements. I’m also interested to hear if other college papers have social media policies or are looking to create them.