ESPN sent out a memo today reminding everyone that employees' personal Twitter feeds are to be used "to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts." They're not to be used as a way to settle scores with critics and colleagues. Writes ESPN VP Laurie Orlando:
We continue to be in the midst of a very busy time here, with game and studio coverage around very high profile events. As we move forward, PLEASE be mindful of the guidelines below, in particular, the item highlighted in yellow. In some situations, we’ve not shown the professionalism this item requires. We are better than that.
That item in yellow from guidelines?
Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors.
Hmm, who might she be talking about? (Actually, in all seriousness, did something else happen more recently that we're just missing?)
UPDATE, 5:48 p.m.: Apparently there are many examples! Jay Bilas got angry at this fellow who decided to unfollow him. And Mark May called for Doug Gottlieb's head after he said that stupid "white man's perspective" thing a couple of weeks ago.
Here's her memo in full:
To all ESPN TalentWe continue to be in the midst of a very busy time here, with game and studio coverage around very high profile events. As we move forward, PLEASE be mindful of the guidelines below, in particular, the item highlighted in yellow. In some situations, we’ve not shown the professionalism this item requires. We are better than that.Thank you in advance for your attention to this.Laurie OrlandoESPN EDITORIAL GUIDELINES FOR STANDARDS & PRACTICESSocial NetworkingFor Talent and ReportersESPN regards social networks such as message boards, conversation pages and other forms of social networking such as Facebook and Twitter as important new forms of content distribution. As such, we expect to hold all talent who participate in social networking to the same standards we hold for interaction with our audiences across TV, radio and our digital platforms. This applies to all ESPN talent, anchors, play by play, hosts, analysts, commentators, reporters and writers who participate in any form of personal social networking that contain sports related content.ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on ESPN.com, SportsCenter.com, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall to provide coverage of this content on ESPN domains.Specific GuidelinesPersonal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permittedThe first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and contentPrior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department headESPN.com will choose the sports related social media content that it will postIf ESPN.com opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, those individuals are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on their personal platformsUnderstand that at all times you are representing ESPNBe mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN's employee policies and editorial guidelines. If you wouldn't say it on the air or write it in your column, don't post it on any social networkExercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fansAvoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven't been posted or produced, interviews you've conducted, or any future coverage plans.Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitorsConfidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, may not be sharedAny violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.We realize this is a fast moving space and recognize the guidelines will have to be assessed frequently and amended as needed.