The Associated Press has updated its Social Media Guidelines to reflect the organization’s effort for more presence and balance in the social space.
(A PDF with all of the updates can be found here
The new guidelines encourages AP reporters to have accounts on social networks. It also says:
“[Social media sites] have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally.”
While there’s nothing that refers to public relations pros specifically, reporters are encouraged to send and accept friend requests from “sources, politicians and newsmakers if necessary for reporting purposes, and to follow them on Twitter.”
The new guidelines also offer guidance on live tweeting and retweeting. Even though no one really thinks a retweet is an endorsement anymore, AP wants its employees to understand that retweets should come with comments.
From the guidelines:
A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying.
Examples of retweets that can cause problems:
1. RT @jonescampaign: smith’s policies would destroy our schools
2. RT @dailyeuropean: at last, a euro plan that works These kinds of unadorned retweets must be avoided.
However, we can judiciously retweet opinionated material if we make clear we’re simply reporting it, much as we would quote it in a story. Introductory words, colons and quote marks help make the distinction:
1. Jones campaign now denouncing Smith on education. RT @jonescampaign: smith’s policies would destroy our schools
2. Big European paper praises euro plan. RT @dailyeuropean: at last, a euro plan that works
These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements. Many people who see your tweets and retweets will never look at your Twitter bio.
Live tweeting is acceptable and encouraged, but AP reporters are instructed to inform the news desk of anything breaking before he or she tweets about it.