Inside The Washington Post’s Social Media Meltdown


On Tuesday afternoon, Washington Write-up reporter Josh Dawsey tweeted that he was “proud” to function at the paper, a place “filled with several wonderful people who are smart and collegial.” 4 minutes later on, reporter Rosalind Helderman, also, tweeted that she was “proud” to work at the Write-up, which is “always striving to be superior than it was yesterday.” Six minutes afterwards, another reporter, Amy Gardner, tweeted how she was “proud” to operate at the paper, adopted by other best journalists at the publication, these kinds of as Matt Viser, Carol Leonnig, and Dan Balz. 

The community outpouring of Article pride—which I’m instructed political reporters had been urging one one more to take element in—followed executive editor Sally Buzbee’s memo reiterating workplace policies and advertising and marketing collegiality amongst staff. The memo dropped pursuing a few days at the Write-up that have been, as one particular reporter explained it, a “clusterfuck.” Dave Weigel, a countrywide political correspondent, is, as of Monday, suspended without having spend for the subsequent month following retweeting a sexist tweet previous 7 days, which he then promptly unshared and apologized for just after a colleague called him out the two on the corporation Slack and publicly. Several hours soon after information of Weigel’s suspension broke Monday, that colleague, political reporter Felicia Sonmez, was urging the paper to consider motion against a distinctive colleague, Jose Del Real, who on Saturday took goal at Sonmez for “the cruelty you frequently unleash towards colleagues.” (He created this point after commending Sonmez for “your bravery in sharing your story,” incorporating, “I aid your struggle towards retribution for executing so.”)

Meanwhile, in one more corner of Twitter on Saturday, Taylor Lorenz—the star Article tech writer and social media lightning rod—was conveying how a “miscommunication with an editor” resulted in an error in a the latest Publish piece even though also hitting back again in opposition to critics and CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, who was masking the incident. 

The Article drama spilling out publicly onto Twitter has upended the newsroom, where by there’s no scarcity of views on the continued fallout. “I imagine Felicia at first was right—that was a gross Dave Weigel tweet, and we were all grateful she called attention to it,” one Write-up staffer explained to me. The challenge, the staffer included, was in “continuing to make it an concern and go following much more and a lot more colleagues.” And as a reporter stated of Lorenz: “Taylor is extremely talented, but her private antics routinely overshadow her journalism.” 

Sonmez, Lorenz, and Weigel declined to comment for this post.

The social media meltdown has turned the highlight on Buzbee, who just last week celebrated her one particular-year anniversary as the paper’s top rated editor. Team use of Twitter bedeviled Buzbee’s predecessor, Marty Baron, who took situation with how journalists, which includes Sonmez, employed Twitter, but failed to enact a new social media coverage. (Other legacy publications, this kind of as The New York Moments, have also been tested by the social media use of their reporters—something Dean Baquet talked about often, specially on his way out.) The effects of that inaction are now slipping on Buzbee, as the Publish’s social media plan is “so intermittently enforced, or not at all, that it leaves it to the most excessive figures to close up receiving us into these forms of predicaments,” one reporter stated.

In the Tuesday memo, Buzbee mentioned shared newsroom values and emphasised how workforce must handle one another. “We do not tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues either deal with to confront or online. Respect for others is essential to any civil culture, such as our newsroom,” she wrote. “The newsroom social media policy details specifically to the need for collegiality.”

“In the past year, we have enforced, by means of conversations, mediation and disciplinary measures, egregious violations of our social media plan, just as we have enforced our over-all benchmarks,” Buzbee included. “As we have explained, we plan to update the social media policy. Until finally then, the current policy remains in influence. It states: When it comes to your colleagues, be constructive and collegial: If you have a query or issue about some thing that has been revealed, talk to your colleague instantly. We regard and do not wish to inhibit any employee’s appropriate to increase respectable place of work issues. We know it requires bravery to phone out troubles. And we pledge to openly and truthfully tackle issues brought to us. We moved immediately to present our intolerance for a sexist re-tweet despatched by an staff last Friday.”

Though a range of Post journalists turned to Twitter to praise the paper, 1 I spoke to was considerably less than impressed with Buzbee’s memo, as it not only felt like a browse-out of preexisting social media guidelines but also failed to reveal the inconsistency—why Weigel had been suspended but not Sonmez or Del Authentic, equally of whom had arguably violated the nondisparagement rule she cited in the e-mail.

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