ASNE issues guide to

Designed to help editors form their own policies, the report was written by Politico's James Hohmann for the 2010-11 Ethics and Values Committee.

Social media platforms continue to emerge as essential newsgathering tools. They offer exciting opportunities for reporters to collect information and for news organizations to expand their reach. But they also carry challenges and risks. Enforcing Draconian rules hampers creativity and discourages the spirit of openness that flourishes on social networks. But allowing an uncontrolled free-for-all opens the floodgates to potential problems and leaves news organizations vulnerable for the comments of employees who tweet before they think.

What's an editor to do?

There is no single right answer, but ASNE has made it easier for members who are grappling with these sticky issues by reviewing the social media rules of leading mainstream news organizations and identifying the best-practice themes at the heart of the best policies.

Organized by the 2010-11 Ethics and Values Committee and written by Politico's James Hohmann, "10 Best Practices for Social Media" is designed as a framework to help editors form their own policies. In addition to brief explanations about why each theme is included, the white paper includes "teachable moments" illustrating the lurking dangers for journalists who get it wrong. The paper also includes an appendix compiling the full text of the social media policies that were collected, ranging from the Roanoke Times' 1500-word guide to one editor's simple admonishment: "Don't be stupid."

10 Best Practices for Social Media