Reputation Wrap-Up: Week of March 8, 2010

In this week’s edition of the Weekly Reputation Wrap-Up, we’re focusing on how the media manages and communicates its reputation. Read on for how a few well-known outlets are (perhaps inadvertently) communicating their reputations, from an attempt to better communicate with its audience to working with public relations firms to publishing an social media policy.

Memo Puts WGN News Staffers at a Loss for Words

Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels this week issued a list of 119 words and phrases his radio station’s anchors and reporters must never again utter on air. Some phrases (“5 a.m. in the morning,” for example) should never be said by anyone. Yet as some commentators have rightly pointed out, words like “allegedly” and “sources say” are usually necessary in hard news stories.

Charlie Meyerson, WGN’s news director, defends Michaels by saying adhering to the ban will result in a more conversational newscast.  “By not using ‘newsspeak,’ you enhance your reputation as a communicator,” said Meyerson in a memo to staff.

Sure, delivering the news in less formal language may enhance a reporter’s reputation as a communicator, but this certainly won’t enhance Michaels’ reputation.

For a hilarious take on this, read Ian Chillag’s use of all 119 banned words in a single sentence.

*Thanks to Sarah Evans’ commentz for pointing me to this article. Editor-In-Chief On Why The Publication Honors Embargoes Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President of Content Lance Ulanoff discusses how the outlet differentiates itself from competitors by honoring embargoes. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle and instantaneous news, I find it refreshing that one outlet still honors non-disclosure agreements.

[brightcove vid=70378531001&exp3=57408845001&surl=]

Reuters to Journalists: Don’t Break News on Twitter

Reuters released its controversial social media policy this week. The majority of the policy reiterates Reuters’ commitment to adhering to the highest journalistic standards; however, one section of the policy reveals that the organization believes social media presents a risk that can “threaten [its] hard-earned reputation for independence and freedom from bias or [its] brand.”  Furthermore, Reuters instructs its reporters not to scoop the wire by breaking news on Twitter. With the number of stories that have broken on Twitter, I wonder how long it will be before Reuters is forced to amend that policy.

Post to Twitter

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