Wick Communications

Not very smart

In Online media on September 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

Do you read Mike Wise of the Washington Post? He’s a fine, fine columnist and one of the reasons readers still turn to the nation’s premier sports pages the very first thing each and every morning.

He’s also the guy who did something really dumb this week.

As you may have heard, Wise has been suspended for sending spoof tweets in hopes of making the point that many news outlets will simply repeat allegations distributed over social media without bothering to verify the information. In Wise’s view (and mine as well, for that matter) too many people are asking too few questions about the veracity of information that spreads virally over the Web.

The trouble is the way Wise chose to make that point.

It is never a good idea for a professional journalist to report something he knows is untrue. That may seem clear enough, but it’s easy to see how Wise – a really fine newspaperman – stumbled into this situation. It’s easy to think of Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms as some other space, a place where a journalist might float falsities, trade in snark and otherwise behave in a less than professional manner…

Let Mike Wise serve as a cautionary tale. As the Post’s ombudsman said, he’s lucky to still have a job today.

It might also be a good idea to review the Wick policy for use of social media. You can read all about it here and you can find the policy itself in the company’s Google Docs.

Clay

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  1. The policy was emailed to all publishers by Tom Riebock a few months ago and will be part of the Wick employee handbook. Pete Bakke

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