NYT issues social media warning: 'Our journalists must not express partisan opinions'

NYT issues social media warning: 'Our journalists must not express partisan opinions'

The New York Times presented new social media guidelines for its reporters in a memo Friday that includes a warning to "not express partisan opinions" or "promote political views," among other rules.

"In social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation,” reads the memo from executive editor Dean Baquet.

“Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively," he wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We consider all social media activity by our journalists to come under this policy. While you may think that your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts are private zones, separate from your role at The Times, in fact everything we post or 'like' online is to some degree public. And everything we do in public is likely to be associated with The Times," the memo warns.

White House Senior Correspondent Maggie Haberman provided her advice to other reporters in the memo.

“Before you post, ask yourself: Is this something that needs to be said, is it something that needs to be said by you, and is it something that needs to be said by you right now? If you answer no to any of the three, it’s best not to rush ahead," wrote Haberman, who came to the Times from Politico in 2015.

Other guidelines include a call for reporters to be transparent about errors and reflect "a diverse collection of viewpoints," especially in retweets, to avoid looking like a side is being taken in a debate.

"Be transparent. If you tweeted an error or something inappropriate and wish to delete the tweet, be sure to quickly acknowledge the deletion in a subsequent tweet. Please consult our social media corrections policy for guidance," one point in the guidelines reads.

"If you are linking to other sources, aim to reflect a diverse collection of viewpoints. Sharing a range of news, opinions or satire from others is usually appropriate. But consistently linking to only one side of a debate can leave the impression that you, too, are taking sides," reads another.

The memo comes after Baquet said during a panel discussion about covering the Trump administration at George Washington University that his journalists need to be consistent in their writing platforms to social media.

“I feel pretty strongly that New York Times journalists should not be able to say anything on social media that they cannot say either in the pages or in any of the platforms of The New York Times,” Baquet said.