According to Editor and Publisher, Wall Street Journal employees were given a set of rules and policies for their use of social networks, on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
I am one for structure but I am also a veteran to Facebook and had a profile and photos up when it was only open to people with email addresses ending in .edu. So to me it seems silly to send rules such as, “don’t engage in any impolite dialogue with those who may challenge your work — no matter how rude or provocative they may seem“ or “don’t discuss articles that haven’t been published, meetings you’ve attended or plan to attend with staff or sources, or interviews that you’ve conducted.” If employees at one of the most respected publications in the world don’t know this on their own, we have bigger problems.
Now, I was not lucky enough to read the e-mail that distributed the document, but if I were the deputy managing editor responsible for getting these across I would embrace social networking sites and also offer advice to those reporters not yet online.
Besides rules prohibiting these writers they should be educated on how they can connect effectively with their readers using sites such as Twitter and Facebook while representing the publication in the most professional of fashion.
If you were asked to send WSJ employees an addendum of tips on how they can work with new media, what would you add?