Is This For Real? Gannett Bans On-Job Use of Twitter, Facebook

Apr 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: The New Media Update

Gannettblog, “the alarmingly independent daily” blog covering the large national newspaper-publishing company, Gannett Co., posted a purported “internal memo” from an editor which bans staff from the use of social networking sites during work hours:

“April 21, 2009


It has come to my attention that some staff members are spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites during work hours. Also, some staff members apparently are spending work time on Fantasy baseball research and other personal recreation activities.

This is not appropriate. It is not part of the job. Occasionally it will be necessary for staff members to visit these sites for work purposes, but please reserve social networking and recreational pursuits for your private time.”

This may be just a silly hoax, but what if it’s for real? It’s easy to be distracted by the Internet, and disappear down the rabbit hole of social networking…. but, really — newspaper reporters in the twenty-first century working without their brains jacked, Matrix-like, into the constant flow of information?

As circulation of dead-tree editions of the paper dwindle, and ad revenues shrink, what are reporters supposed to be doing to gather news? Sit patiently by the news-ticker, pencil and pad in hand?

photo: chicagoeye

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No Responses to “Is This For Real? Gannett Bans On-Job Use of Twitter, Facebook”

  1. Tim says:

    Um… I don’t see what’s so controversial about this. An employer asks its employees to keep “social” use of these apps out of the workplace, but recognizes that there are some work-related uses that are ok. Are you suggesting it’s ok to be paid to manage your (cough-cough lame! cough-cough) fantasy baseball team? Or to complete level 77 of mob wars?

  2. Emma B says:

    I used to work for a Gannett paper’s web department, 10+ years ago. I’m skeptical that this is a corporate policy — corporate doesn’t exert that much control over each paper’s internal operations. They dictate the technologies to be used, but each paper has its own IT department who is responsible for the paper’s network, including acceptable use policies. Also, if there were such a policy at a corporate level, it wouldn’t come from “an editor” — that wording strongly implies it’s a departmental policy, not even applicable to that newspaper as a whole.

  3. arjun says:

    What’s really stupid about this is that research shows that using social networking sites at work actually makes you more productive:

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