However, it's not quite clear how the PCC code relates to our online work and particularly to the use of social media sites by our journalists. Up until now, I have talked to individual reporters about their usage, but thought it might be useful to put my thoughts down in writing and ask the journalists what they thought.
I also thought it would be good to hear what other people think so here's what I sent to our staff:
This is how I view the way journalists at the Leicester Mercury use Twitter and other social media sites, including blogs.I separate it into two categories:1 Personal usage: where a member of staff uses any social media site in a personal capacity (ie where they do not mention the Leicester Mercury in their profile nor mention work in anything other than a passing reference) I do not believe that I have a part to play in overseeing that content. In the same way that I would expect them not to bring the company into disrepute in their personal lives, I would expect them to take that into consideration when writing in a personal capacity.2 Professional usage: I believe that any use of social media sites (including Twitter) in a professional capacity (ie where the member of staff links their usage directly to their job) should be treated in the same way as a column of the newspaper. As a columnist, the journalist gets far more freedom and is able to express an opinion. However, as a columnist their work is subject to my editing. I reserve the right to edit their posts. In practice, I never see their posts until after they have been published, but staff know that I am reviewing them and, therefore, I believe, they take this into consideration before publication. I have not had to intervene in any posts so far. I regularly read all staff blogs and have a ‘list’ of Mercury journalists set up on Twitter and I review their posts every day.It follows from this that I would be happy for the professional usage to fall within the PCC’s remit.
So, what do you think?