Editor says NYTimes journalists shouldn’t complain on Twitter

The front of the New York Times building in New York City. (Photo by samchills on Flickr / Creative Commons image)

The new executive editor at the New York Times is warning journalists not to air their complaints out on Twitter and other social media websites.

The warning comes as other newsrooms are grappling with scandal after scandal involving young reporters who have found a sympathetic ear amongst their thousands of social media followers, but who have also found themselves on the unemployment line for taking their complaints there.

Joseph Kahn, who took over as executive editor at the New York Times on Tuesday, said the turmoil at the Washington Post and other outlets convinced him that additional guidance on how New York Times journalists should approach social media was warranted.

“A few weeks ago we put out our own sort of restatement on our approach to Twitter, which many of us spent quite a bit of time thinking through,” Kahn said. “And I’m glad we did it. I think it’s time for people to put that particular platform into a bit more perspective, and frankly, to take a step back from an overreliance on Twitter as a place to vet grievances with your own news organization.”

Kahn was not necessarily against the idea of journalists using Twitter, according to Poynter. But he cautioned Twitter could become a platform where journalists fight with their colleagues and others over grievances that could be better handled internally. He also said journalists would better serve the New York Times if they brought their best reporting to their print and digital platforms instead of rushing to post it on social media.

“When we have our own expert reporters involved in covering one of the major news stories of the moment, we’re hoping they can channel their expertise and their insights into an experience that we create rather than rushing to Twitter to do that,” he said.