ESPN's guidelines for social networking

Here is a verbatim copy of ESPN’s new guidelines for social networking, which has been forwarded to us by ESPN.


ESPN regards social networks such as message boards, conversation pages and other forms of social networking such as Facebook and Twitter as important new forms of content. As such, we expect to hold all talent who participate in social networking to the same standards we hold for interaction with our audiences across TV, radio and our digital platforms. This applies to all ESPN Talent, anchors, play by play, hosts, analysts, commentators, reporters and writers who participate in any form of personal social networking that contain sports related content.

ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on,, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall.

Specific Guidelines

· Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted

· Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head

· ESPN.COM may choose to post sports related social media content

· If opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms

· The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content

* Assume at all times you are representing ESPN

* If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it

* Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans

· Avoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven’t been posted or produced, interviews you’ve conducted, or any future coverage plans.

 · Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors

· Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN’s employee policies and editorial guidelines

· Confidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, should not be shared

Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.

13 responses to “ESPN's guidelines for social networking

  1. ESPN is only hurting themselves by this. I will just continue following local beat writers who post all sorts of great content…
    The only time I even read ESPN is when a blog with “sports related content” posts a link or when someone posts something on Twitter.
    Why follow an ESPN personality if they cant offer any content? ESPN needs to check out some websites on how to build traffic through social networking.
    If you have content to offer on your Twitter, people will follow you, then when you post ESPN links, ESPN gets traffic and makes money.
    I can understand them not wanting their people to get in wars with their Twitter followers, not wanting them to link to big ESPN competitors or posting libelous or unsubstantiated content, but this goes WAY too far.

  2. The Atlanta Falcons today signed free agent wide receiver Dicky Lyons, from the University of Kentucky.

  3. Geez, this sounds an awful lot like my company.
    Let’s face it: corporations suck. Big Time.

  4. ESPN is such a joke of a sports network. It’s like the Disney version of what a real sports network would be…

  5. Does this mean that Adande can’t watch a bball game and tweet that it’s a good one?
    Seriously… who is going to follow an ESPN employee who can’t tweet about sports? LOL. I can’t believe how short-sighted the “WWL” is being about this. How many people follow someone like Adande on twitter and then DONT tune in ATH?
    Poor business decision.

  6. Employees found using the new electric light to facilitate the writing of their column after sundown may be terminated.

  7. Sounds like newspapers’ approach to the innerwebz when it started gaining popularity.
    We all know that worked out pretty well.

  8. This is a great opening for all non ESPN media memebers.
    This might be a really good thing – Im of the opinion that mort-report was already holding back any thing of value.
    Can you name any story that was on ESPN regarding the NFL that you couldnt have gotten on this site first?

  9. What’s the big deal? This sounds like a reasonable company policy to me. In fact, its not really a new policy so much as just saying “social networking technology exists, and people pay some attention to it; use common sense”
    Does the company any of you work for want you to create a blog without their knowledge or permission to publicly disparage your co-workers, or describe company operations in detail?

  10. So, let me get this straight, ESPN is evil and they are suppressing freedom of speech because they want their own employees to “Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans” when they post content on public forums, blogs, etc.
    No-one has a problem with PFT/NBC and their policy of waiting to approve each and every post on their blog :
    “Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner”
    Not that I’m outraged at that or anything, just a little perspective.

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