Freedom Communications, parent of 27 daily newspapers and more than 100 publications in total, sent a memo to employees regarding its policy on social media. Highlights, via Poynter‘s Jim Romenesko:

Unless specifically instructed, associates are not authorized, and therefore restricted, to speak on behalf of the company. Associates may not publicly discuss clients, products, associates, or any work-related matters, whether confidential or not, outside company-authorized communications. Associates are expected to protect the privacy of Freedom Communications, its associates, its clients, etc., and are prohibited from disclosing personal associate and non-associate information and any other proprietary and nonpublic information to which associates have access. Such information includes, but is not limited to, customer information, trade secrets, financial data, strategic business plans, etc.

Apart from personal use of social media in accordance with this policy, the company encourages its associates to participate in these media as a means of generating interest in the company’s products and services and creating business opportunities by promoting and raising awareness of the Freedom Communications brands, search for potential new markets, communicate with associates and customers, to brainstorm issues or respond to breaking news or publicity, and discuss corporate, business-unit and department-specific activities and events.

When social networking, blogging, or using other forms of Web-based forums, the company must ensure that use of these communications maintains its brand identity, integrity, and reputation, while minimizing actual or potential legal risks, whether used internally or externally.

We recognize that associates might work long hours and occasionally may desire to use social media for personal activities at work or by means of the company’s computers, networks, and other IT resources and communications systems. The company authorizes such occasional use so long as it does not involve unprofessional or inappropriate content and does not interfere with your employment responsibilities or productivity. Circulating or posting commercial, personal, religious, or political solicitations, or promotion of outside organizations unrelated to the company’s business, are also prohibited.

The company investigates and responds to all reports of violations related to social networking and other related policies. Violation of the company’s social-media policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Discipline will be determined based on the nature and factors of any blog, social networking, etc.