Los Angeles Times tells staff: Assume your personal, social media life have merged

In a memo from the Los Angeles Times Standards and Practices Committee, Los Angeles Times employees have been advised to watch what they post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any online social space. “Integrity is our most important commodity: Avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass The Times or compromise your ability to do your job,” the committee stated. Most interesting, the committee stated that employees should “assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them.” Privacy tools that determine who can see and read what you post, the committee stated, have little meaning when publishing on a public Web site. Being a part of any online group, the committee stated, means an employee adheres to that group’s beliefs and opinions. Reporters were told that “friending” a professional contact may publicly identify that person as one of their sources. In those cases, reporters must identify themselves as a Times employee. The committee also warns employees about third-party subpoenas for retweets. “For instance, any information might be turned over to law enforcement without your consent or even your knowledge.” From an operations standpoint, the Times committee did state it does not want employees to release information that would allow its competition to be scooped.


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