Los Links: At Least You’re Not A Lumberjack

15 Jun

I’m starting a new feature on the site: Los Links, a (probably) weekly collection of stories about goings-on in the brave new media world. If you run across something that you think should be included, post it in the comments or shoot me an email.

Why Your News Organization’s Social Media Policy May Be Illegal
In the context of the recent brouhaha about Colorado Springs Gazette journalist Barrett Tryon being ordered by management, citing the company’s social media policy, to remove a post from his personal Facebook page, Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman writes such actions have drawn the attention of the National Labor Relations Board. He writes the NLRB has found provisions of employer social media policies to be unlawful in six recent cases, labeling such restrictions “an ‘overly broad’ gag order on workers’ rights.”

The NLRB seems particularly concerned with any restriction that might impair employees’ rights to discuss employment terms and conditions publicly or with each other. The guiding law here is Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives workers the rights to organize, unionize and bargain collectively.

Note: The Denver Post’s social media policy can be found in the Ethics Policy document on the intranet.

The Importance of Trustworthiness
In the American Journalism Review, Carl Sessions Stepp writes that while newspaper executives make a convincing case that readers see content as a “real-time work-in-progress that can be instantly corrected and updated,” those executives should be mindful that cutting copy editors could also damage a newspaper’s reputation as more mistakes get through.

The more alarming risk is that the cumulative cutbacks undercut the all-important trustworthiness, a nearly unique selling point. Instead of the recognized, essential site for reliable material, a news operation becomes just one among many semi-satisfactory options.

Why Newspapers Were Doomed All Along
Justin Fox, editor of the Harvard Business Review Group, writes that we’re witnessing the death spiral of many metro dailies that react to lost revenue by cutting back on news-gathering resources and raising prices, making them less attractive to readers. He writes the post-World War II business model was: establish monopoly, milk monopoly.

But the sustainable online business model for serious local reporting has yet to be discovered. … If former monopoly newspapers are to succeed in remaining part of that (sustainable media) mix, they’ll probably need owners who don’t really care about making money. That is, they’ll effectively become non-profits.

The 10 Worst Jobs of 2012
And by the way, according to CareerCast, newspaper reporter is now one of the 10 worst jobs around, coming in at No. 196 out of 200. What’s number 200? Lumberjack.

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