Social Media Policy

Station-Wide Employee Guidelines

Social media is a powerful tool in furthering St. Louis Public Radio’s mission: to inform and provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures for a more inspired and engaged public.

You are a critical part of that mission. As such, we want to offer recommendations for navigating social media and using your online presence to greatest effect — as both a St. Louis Public Radio team member and a private citizen with freedom of speech rights.

Preserving St. Louis Public Radio’s standing as a trusted and impartial source of news in the community is paramount. We would expect that, as professionals, you would act thoughtfully as you do online as you do in any other public space — maintaining our values of audience first, trust and accountability, inclusivity and respect, innovation and creativity, and discovery and joy. We all represent St. Louis Public Radio and should strive to maintain the journalistic integrity of our organization.

These recommendations will try to keep up with the pace of social media’s evolution. Please approach this public conversation with integrity and transparency. If you see social media activity by other staff members that concerns you, please raise your concern respectfully and collegially with your supervisor so that we can enter into a productive discussion.

  • The safest way to avoid the appearance of bias is by not advocating for political or polarizing issues on social media. When in doubt: If you wouldn’t say it in public wearing a St. Louis Public Radio name badge, consider whether it’s worth saying on social media.
  • Assume all online communication is public, everywhere, forever.
  • Just as we ask of our audience, don’t fall for or spread misinformation. Verify what you’re sharing using trusted websites such as Snopes.
  • Periodically review your privacy settings.
  • Having multiple or “secret” accounts is not possible on social media. These accounts are suggested to others based on information you’ve already provided, your I.P. address or other ways social media platforms track you across the web.
  • Please feel free to share St. Louis Public Radio content via social media. It’s preferable that you link to the website, share via Facebook or retweet via Twitter. Tag your colleagues to recognize great work.
  • Because we are a news organization, the privacy terms of different social media platforms (and Slack) might be subpoenaed by law enforcement either directly related to an investigation or private material that’s simply swept up in an investigation.
  • Disclaimers in your social media profile (“Retweets are not endorsements”) have no legal standing and cannot protect you from impressions of bias. For example, your tweets travel separately from any disclaimer you might have in your profile or in the “About” section of any website.

Additional Guidelines for News Employees

  • If using a personal social media profile for work purposes, identify St. Louis Public Radio in your profile or description.
  • Participating in online groups could be seen as an endorsement of a political position. It’s okay to do so to monitor news feeds, but not to participate. If possible, follow feeds or groups from multiple sides of an issue. Doing so is the equivalent of joining a postal or email list.
  • Respect the culture, etiquette, and norms of social media groups and be respectful of them.
  • Please share your work and your colleagues’ work on social media.

The ethics rules that apply to offline information gathering also apply to online information gathering and consideration of sources. These guidelines include:

  • Identifying yourself as a St. Louis Public Radio staff member when you are working online.
  • Providing an explanation for how you intend to use information gathered online.
  • In an ideal world, clarifying and confirming information collected online with an in-person or telephone interview.
  • Content gathered online is subject to the same attribution and rules as other content.