The Wall Street Journal’s rules for Twitter and the internet rob the paper and its reporters of a few key benefits. Among the rules:
* Let our coverage speak for itself, and don’t detail how an article was reported, written or edited.
* Don’t discuss articles that haven’t been published, meetings you’ve attended or plan to attend with staff or sources, or interviews that you’ve conducted. . . .
* Business and pleasure should not be mixed on services like Twitter. Common sense should prevail, but if you are in doubt about the appropriateness of a Tweet or posting, discuss it with your editor before sending.
This misses the chance to make their reporting collaborative. Of course, they should discuss how an article was made. Of course, they should talk about stories as they in progress. Net natives – as WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch calls them – understand this.
Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. also provide the opportunity for reporters and editors to come out from behind the institutional voice of the paper – a voice that is less and less trusted – and to become human. Of course, they should mix business and pleasure.