Last week, the Washington Post’s Managing Editor Raju Narisetti sent out
a memo to all of the paper’s employees entitled “responding to readers
via social media” in which he effectively bans reporters, editors and
assorted hangers-on from engaging directly with the Post’s considerable
The memo came after a controversial article implying a
link between homosexuality and mental illness was published in the Post
and rightly lambasted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD). In the ensuing kerfuffle, a Post editor responded to
critics via the company Twitter account, claiming that the paper was
“trying to represent both sides of the story”.
Whether or not there
actually are two sides to this story is not for me to comment on here,
but the reaction by Narisetti highlights the continuing misunderstanding
and misapplication of social media policy by many large companies.