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Journalists at Sky News given strict guidelines on use of Twitter

By Hamish Mackay

February 8, 2012 | 3 min read

Sky News is reported to have instructed its journalists not to repost information from any Twitter users who are not an employee of the broadcaster.

According to a report in The Guardian, an email to staff yesterday laid out new social media guidelines for Sky News employees - including a ban on retweeting rival "journalists or people on Twitter".

The newspaper’s report says the new guidelines also warn Sky News journalists to "stick to your own beat" and not to tweet about non-work subjects from their professional accounts.

The Guardian points out: “Sky News has cultivated a reputation for digital innovation and has used Twitter to break news on events including the Arab Spring uprising and England riots.

“Journalists at the broadcaster expressed shock and dismay at the new guidelines, which they claim are a retrograde step.

According to MediaGuardian, the email read: "So, to reiterate, don't tweet when it is not a story to which you have been assigned or a beat which you work.

"Where a story has been Tweeted by a Sky News journalist who is assigned to the story it is fine, desirable in fact, that it is retweeted by other Sky News staff.

"Do not retweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter. Such information could be wrong and has not been through the Sky News editorial process".

It is also reported that the email claims to have introduced the guidelines in order to "ensure that our journalism is joined up across platforms, there is sufficient editorial control of stories reported by Sky News journalists and that the news desks remain the central hub for information going out on all our stories."

The email also stated: "1. Don't tweet when it's someone else [sic] story. Stick to your own beat. 2. Always pass breaking news lines to the news desk before posting them on social media networks’ and added that when those guildelines had previously been breach it had resulted in the Sky News "running different information on Twitter other Sky platforms or the news desks learning from Twitter details that should have been first passed on to them’.”

A Sky News spokeswoman is quoted as saying: "Sky News has the same editorial procedures across all their platforms including social media to ensure the news we report is accurate."

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