Can the New York Times Social Media Policy Become a Teaching Tool?

Today, October 13, 2017, the New York Times introduced its new social media policy for people who work in the Times newsroom. Not only is it interesting to read — it may will also become a useful document for educators to share with students. The policy clearly illustrates the advice educators share over and over with 21st Century young people, basically that anything a person puts online can become a public story.

Times Social Media

Click on the headline to read the article about the new policy..

The new policy directs Times reporters and other newsroom employees to assume that all of their personal social media activities can be interpreted as the newspaper’s point of view — even if the subject has nothing to do with issues or subjects that reporters cover. The document describes the newspaper’s expectations for journalists and includes perspectives from journalists who offer thoughts about digital issues challenge their professional lives.

So much of the time we ask young people to exercise caution when they work and play online. We tell them to be mindful of language, replies and comments, their likes, and even what other members of their groups post. We tell them that nothing is private and that their personal activities may negatively reflect their school, friends, and, family. Unfortunately a school’s social media and acceptable use policies cannot concretely illustrate how personal actions affect responsibilities and cause repercussions, or even cause problems for an individual’s employer.

The Times’s social media policy will be a helpful teaching tool, demonstrating for students how an individual’s digital life can interfere with or support professional work.

3 thoughts on “Can the New York Times Social Media Policy Become a Teaching Tool?

  1. Hey Marti! I shared it out on Twitter yesterday because I thought that school’s might benefit from it as they explore their own policies. What struck me is that it was not a document about “stranger danger” or another list of “don’t’s.” Rather, I thought it was interesting that for the first time, an organization put out a document that recognized that Social Media is a professional tool and how they ought to be mindful of that. Just as we have “professional” rules for attire, language, and topics (e.g. I don’t wear sweat pants, drink wine, and talk about my crazy cousin/uncle/grandparent at work, even though these are acceptable activities at home).

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