The Miami Herald recently reminded staff not to attend political rallies, an already existing policy. “We are journalists, not activists, and we can’t portray ourselves as neutral news gatherers when our actions convey a political point of view,” a memo to staff read.
In its memo, published by alternative news outlet the Miami New Times, the Herald‘s editor Mindy Marques Gonzalez and managing editor Rick Hirsch said, “The policy applies to all areas of the newsroom, from sports to features to metro, and includes the copy desk, the photo staff and the CND.”
Hirsch told the Miami New Times an undisclosed number of Herald staff had gone to the Women’s March in January. Hirsch added that the newspaper won’t “lift” its policy “in any instance.”
iMediaEthics is writing to Gonzalez for further comment, and to ascertain whether any members of the staff are in danger of losing their jobs for attending the Women’s March. We’ll update with any response.
The newspaper also included its social media guidelines, which recommends staff to “keep it professional,” be nice to commenters, and identify themselves as journalists. Specifically concerning politics, the guidelines state:
“Do not advocate for political or other polarizing issues online. This extends to joining online groups or using social media in any form (including your Facebook page or a personal blog) to express personal views on a political or other controversial issue that you could not write for in print or on MiamiHerald.com/El NuevoHerald.com.”
iMediaEthics wrote earlier this month about CNN and the San Francisco Chronicle reminding their staffs about policies against participating in political events such as the Women’s March on Washington. According to California Magazine, violating the guidance could be a “potential firing offense” for Chronicle staffers, but the Chronicle claimed to iMediaEthics “Nobody was ever threatened with firing.”
UPDATE: 1/29/2017 4:11 PM EST