Where are the boundaries between public and private life on social networks? That question was highlighted today with reports that the Associated Press (AP) had told reporter Richard Richtmyer that he violated company policy when he posted a comment on Facebook post in which he allegedly said that management rather than staff should be suffering for the financial hardship at newspaper chain McClatchy.
At issue is the question of whether Richtmyer was discussing working conditions, which are conversations that the union wants to protect, or whether he was badmouthing a company with which his employer has a business relationship, making it speech that AP would like to control.
“Every organization is tiptoeing through the new reality,” Tony Winton, president of the News Media Guild, told InternetNews.com. He admitted that the AP had not formally reprimanded Richtmyer.
The news comes as newspapers are in trouble and journalists are re-examining their profession, making this a difficult time for both managers and employees.