ESPN has a history of both breaking news and of less than social-media-friendly practices. In 2009, the network took heat for its guidelines that at the time banned talent from sports related commentary on social networks.
Obviously, a lot can change in two years and as the medium developed, so did ESPN and other sports reporters social media savvy. Today, those reporters are looked to precisely for their news and commentary on social networks.
Well, maybe not so much has changed. Last week, an updated set of social networking guidelines started circulating. And while some of the points are to-be-expected and valid:
Think before your tweet. … If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in a column, don’t post it on any social network.
Others seem to be keeping staff on too tight of a leash, and at least one item in the policy comes across incredibly short-sighted to anyone who produces news or follows those producers on social media.
Do not break news on Twitter. We want to serve fans in the social sphere, but the first priority is to ESPN news and information efforts. Public news (i.e. announced in news conferences) can be distributed with- out vetting. However, sourced or proprietary news must be vetted by the TV or Digital news desks. Once reported on an ESPN platform, that news can (and should) be distributed on Twitter and other social sites.
I had to check the calendar to make sure this document was really date stamped August 2011.