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You Gonna Tweet That? LA Times Tells Staff How To (or Not To) Twitter

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In the era of social media, even the media itself needs to be given guidelines. Los Angeles Times staffers who make use of Twitter have been given updated directions on their use of social media tools in conjunction with their jobs, according to the Huffington Post. This most recent update to guidelines includes reminders to focus on the significance of integrity, professionalism, lack of privacy, and the expression of partisan views.

In addition to cautioning writers about the folly of privacy tools, and the similarity between views expressed and political signs pushed into your front lawn, the guidelines seek to have LAT staff think of the long-range consequences of their actions on sites like Facebook or Twitter. A story today in Editor & Publisher culls from the new guidelines the following pieces of advice:

If a reporter "friends" a particular interest group in social media, he should also "friend" any group that takes an opposing view, the Times suggests. "Be aware of inadvertent disclosures or the perception of disclosures," it adds. "For example, consider that 'friending' a professional contact may publicly identify that person as one of your sources."

Other things to consider: Verifying sources for 140 character blurbs with the same rigor applied to fact-checking newspaper stories. The LA Times runs several of its own feeds focused on news, food, entertainment, and other specialties, and many of their staff writers and editors are active Twitters on their own accounts, oftentimes openly affiliated with their paper of employment. [Full LAT Twitter Directory]