February 6, 2009 By Blake Harris
According to reports from EConsultancy.com and the Poynter Institute, the New York Times has been the first major newspaper to address some thorny ethical issues that arise over staff's use of popular social and new media websites like Facebook! and Twitter.
* Don't specify your political views. This includes joining online groups that would make your political views known.
* Don't write anything you wouldn't write in The Times on your profiles, a blog or as commentary on content you share.
* Be careful who you 'friend'. Since this is a tricky subject, The Times suggests that its reporters "imagine whether public disclosure of a 'friend' could somehow turn out to be an embarrassment that casts doubt on our impartiality."
* Using email addresses found on social networks to contact individuals is fine but the standard rules apply: treat the person fairly and openly and don't "inquire pointlessly into someone's personal life."
* The Standards Editor must be consulted before contact is made with a minor.
This tricky new area may be one where staffers and Standards Editors have an evolving conversation in the years ahead, according to the reports.
This raises a serious question: What similar restrictions, if any, should be placed on local government employees?
Photo by Dom Dada. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.