While some news corp. have not addressed specific tools like the WSJ did, many profess to be using a common sense approach and say as much in their guidelines.
However, I'm seeing evidence to the contrary.
In a conversation at the New York Times, which was reported by the Observer and later mysteriously disappeared from the link and search, reporters had a quite uncomfortable meeting in the news room - no, it's not alright to talk about the background of a story on Twitter.
Try submitting this form as I did. A rose-colored box comes up (no, you won't be able to capture the image) and it tells you that "your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted". It must be written in the equivalent of lemon ink, as I was not able to capture that in my screen shot.
The experience leaves me a bit uncertain as to the chain of events that led to the deletion of the story. I know it existed as I read it, and even shared the link at work the next day. Dear Editorial staff at the New York Observer, thoughts as to what happened to change your mind and have the story expunged?
A recent Editor & Publisher post quoted Frank Burgos, one of the original members of the Fast Company readers network I curated and led in Philadelphia. I met him, we had events at The Philadelphia Inquirer building where he worked before moving on to becoming Managing Editor of The Record in Hackensack, N.J.
Apparently, The Record has four
editors who collect and post Twitter items for the paper. Yet Managing
Editor Frank Burgos is quoted saying that tweeting by anyone else on company time is
"My expectation is they are not tweeting on behalf of the company," he says of staffers. "I don't expect the reporter to use Twitter to promote. If they do it in their off hours, I am okay with it. But we don't want people to excessively use Twitter." To use Twitter excessively or at all?
Check out a screen shot of the contact page for The Record. Why on earth wouldn't you make it easy for readers to contact actual people at a newspaper, particularly a local one? Isn't there an opportunity for community building there?
I mean is there so much demand from citizens that the newspaper needs to have a list of generic email addresses in its contact page to escape fans?
I'm not picking on the North Jersey paper or Frank, as I recall he is a very talented and well networked professional.
It just seems to me that there is dissonance between what a newspaper could be and what it's become - more like a bureaucratic entity than a potential platform for a community to learn and come together through news.
While giant service corporation IBM has a very generic contact us page on the Web as well, it has a pretty comprehensive set of Social Computing Guidelines, one that news organizations might learn a thing or two from, especially as it addresses the question or point of adding value. It concludes with an admonition not to forget your day job.
The question of value comes up a lot - or it seems to do so especially for the organization.
I just met Danny Sullivan through his writing at Daggle and I'm already a fan. In a recent post about online journalists he writes "I’m begging the management of newspapers who view blogs with hostility to get out into your newsrooms and talk with a few of your reporters that interact with bloggers. Many of them know the valuable role we play."
Sullivan is not the only voice that sounds a bit frustrated with news organizations these days. As DigiDave writes, news organizations need to learn to rock out. Maybe it's a bit too ambitious to expect that organizations built on process and bureaucracy start rocking out, however it seems to me that the news business is fighting a losing battle with new media.
This is not the first time the news media fight against changes in the way people share and consume information. As Art Brodsky writes in a post about AP and newspapers losing battle against the Web - "In the 1920s and 1930s, some newspapers declined to run listings of radio programs without charge and kept radio stations from subscribing to news services, all tactics in a war to keep radio from growing. That went well."
He continues "Blaming the Internet isn’t going to make the newspaper industry’s situation any better. Recognizing reality and dealing with it will." Other than that, news organizations are doing just fine in grappling with new media.