Inside The Washington Post’s Social Media Meltdown

On Tuesday afternoon, Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey tweeted that he was “proud” to do the job at the paper, a put “filled with a lot of great men and women who are clever and collegial.” 4 minutes later, reporter Rosalind Helderman, much too, tweeted that she was “proud” to get the job done at the Submit, which is “always striving to be far better than it was yesterday.” 6 minutes afterwards, a different reporter, Amy Gardner, tweeted how she was “proud” to perform at the paper, adopted by other top journalists at the publication, such as Matt Viser, Carol Leonnig, and Dan Balz. 

The public outpouring of Write-up pride—which I’m explained to political reporters ended up urging one particular yet another to consider element in—followed government editor Sally Buzbee’s memo reiterating office guidelines and endorsing collegiality amid employees. The memo dropped next a few times at the Article that have been, as one particular reporter described it, a “clusterfuck.” Dave Weigel, a national political correspondent, is, as of Monday, suspended without having pay out for the subsequent month following retweeting a sexist tweet final week, which he then instantly unshared and apologized for immediately after a colleague termed him out each on the enterprise Slack and publicly. Several hours soon after news of Weigel’s suspension broke Monday, that colleague, political reporter Felicia Sonmez, was urging the paper to consider action from a diverse colleague, Jose Del Actual, who on Saturday took purpose at Sonmez for “the cruelty you on a regular basis unleash from colleagues.” (He manufactured this level soon after commending Sonmez for “your bravery in sharing your story,” including, “I support your combat against retribution for doing so.”)

In the meantime, in another corner of Twitter on Saturday, Taylor Lorenz—the star Submit tech author and social media lightning rod—was outlining how a “miscommunication with an editor” resulted in an mistake in a the latest Submit piece although also hitting back from critics and CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, who was masking the incident. 

The Write-up drama spilling out publicly on to Twitter has upended the newsroom, wherever there’s no lack of opinions on the ongoing fallout. “I consider Felicia at first was right—that was a gross Dave Weigel tweet, and we have been all grateful she known as awareness to it,” 1 Submit staffer instructed me. The dilemma, the staffer additional, was in “continuing to make it an issue and go right after much more and extra colleagues.” And as a reporter reported of Lorenz: “Taylor is pretty proficient, but her personalized antics regularly overshadow her journalism.” 

Sonmez, Lorenz, and Weigel declined to remark for this report.

The social media meltdown has turned the spotlight on Buzbee, who just final week celebrated her a single-year anniversary as the paper’s major editor. Personnel use of Twitter bedeviled Buzbee’s predecessor, Marty Baron, who took difficulty with how journalists, together with Sonmez, employed Twitter, but failed to enact a new social media coverage. (Other legacy publications, this sort of as The New York Moments, have furthermore been examined by the social media use of their reporters—something Dean Baquet talked about usually, especially on his way out.) The effects of that inaction are now falling on Buzbee, as the Post’s social media coverage is “so intermittently enforced, or not at all, that it leaves it to the most extraordinary figures to close up obtaining us into these kinds of circumstances,” one reporter claimed.

In the Tuesday memo, Buzbee said shared newsroom values and emphasized how employees should really treat just one a different. “We do not tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues both encounter to experience or online. Regard for other people is significant to any civil modern society, including our newsroom,” she wrote. “The newsroom social media plan details precisely to the have to have for collegiality.”

“In the previous 12 months, we have enforced, by way of conversations, mediation and disciplinary measures, egregious violations of our social media coverage, just as we have enforced our total criteria,” Buzbee extra. “As we have explained, we system to update the social media coverage. Right up until then, the present policy remains in result. It states: When it will come to your colleagues, be constructive and collegial: If you have a concern or problem about a thing that has been printed, discuss to your colleague instantly. We respect and do not wish to inhibit any employee’s appropriate to increase legit place of work troubles. We know it can take bravery to simply call out difficulties. And we pledge to openly and truthfully address problems brought to us. We moved swiftly to clearly show our intolerance for a sexist re-tweet despatched by an staff previous Friday.”

While a amount of Article journalists turned to Twitter to praise the paper, 1 I spoke to was much less than amazed with Buzbee’s memo, as it not only felt like a go through-out of preexisting social media procedures but also unsuccessful to clarify the inconsistency—why Weigel had been suspended but not Sonmez or Del True, the two of whom had arguably violated the nondisparagement rule she cited in the e mail.