Why The New York Times eliminated its social media editor position

Helping journalists effectively use social media

When Preston became social media editor a year and a half ago, she was criticized for not having a background in it. It helped, she said, to have a small group of Times journalists who were already well-versed in Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

While some journalists at the Times were already using those sites, there wasn’t a newsroom-wide understanding of why the tools mattered. “At the beginning there was some resistance among my colleagues about using these tools,” Preston said. “What did I hear at the very beginning? ‘Twitter is all about what people are having for lunch.’ Now, no one says that anymore.”

As social media editor, Preston met regularly with section editors and reporters to demonstrate how they could use social media tools not just to promote content but to build communities and attract new audiences. Now, Times staffers regularly use social media to publish real-time news and updates for breaking stories and live events. Some departments, she said, have started using Facebook to help seed communities around areas of content.

Preston pointed to two projects that were especially critical in helping the Times realize social media’s potential. In her memo to Abramson, she said the Times’ Moment in Time interactive showed those in the newsroom how social media can be used as a powerful crowdsourcing tool. And the Fort Hood shootings showed the Times the value in using Twitter to get information from people at the scene of a breaking news story.


Mallary Jean Tenore
by Mallary Jean Tenore
http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/110111/why-the-new-york-times-eliminated-its-social-media-editor-position/

Earlier this week, New York Times Social Media Editor Jennifer Preston tweeted that she would be returning to reporting full-time. The news made me wonder: What would this mean for social media at the Times?

Preston told me by phone that the Times plans to eliminate her position in early 2011 and shift social media responsibilities to Aron Pilhofer‘s interactive news team. When her current job ends, Preston will begin covering social media as a Times reporter.

The move is part of the Times’ efforts to more fully integrate its print and digital operations. It’s also an acknowledgment that social media needs to be — and is already — a shared responsibility.

“Social media can’t belong to one person; it needs to be part of everyone’s job,” Preston said. “It has to be integrated into the existing editorial process and production process. I’m convinced that’s the only way we’re going to crack the engagement nut.”

Preston expressed these sentiments in a memo to News Managing Editor Jill Abramson last August and made the case that the job of a social media evangelist was no longer needed. She said she believed that Times’ reporters and editors really understood the value of social media for reporting, delivering real-time news updates and engaging with users. Leer más “Why The New York Times eliminated its social media editor position”

Is Data Overload Killing Our Creativity?

The Neurological and Creative Toll of Digital Overload

If you’re like a lot of people, during your work day you might check 40 websites. You could be switching between programs such as Word and Excel and your email application 36 times an hour. You probably stop what you’re doing — or at least pause — when a text message buzzes or an email comes in or your cell phone rings.

Matt Richtel, technology reporter for the New York Times, says in an interview on the NPR program Fresh Air that for all the productivity upsides to digital consumption, there are huge downsides, too, including changes in the brain that seem to affect not just the ability to engage in conversation but the ability to be creative, too.

“Twenty years of glorifying all technology as if all computers were good and all use of it was good, I think science is beginning to embrace the idea that some technology is Twinkies and some technology is Brussels sprouts,” Richtel says. “If we consume too much technology, just like if we consume too much food, it can have ill effects. And that is the moment in time we find ourselves in . . .with the way we are digesting, if you will, technology all over the place.”

Richtel notices, he says, that he’s “not quite as engaged in my world when I’m constantly using devices as I am when I’m away from them.” Away from them, “I can give myself over to conversations a little bit differently.”

Awarded a Pulitzer Prize this year for his Times series “Driven to Distraction,” about the dangers of driving while multitasking with cell phones and other devices, Richtel says that the digital glut appears to not just increase distraction but decrease creativity.


New York Times reporter Matt Richtel says that too much digital consumption and a steady stream of distraction appear to change the brain and affect our ability to be creative.

The Neurological and Creative Toll of Digital Overload

If you’re like a lot of people, during your work day you might check 40 websites. You could be switching between programs such as Word and Excel and your email application 36 times an hour. You probably stop what you’re doing — or at least pause — when a text message buzzes or an email comes in or your cell phone rings.

Matt Richtel, technology reporter for the New York Times, says in an interview on the NPR program Fresh Air that for all the productivity upsides to digital consumption, there are huge downsides, too, including changes in the brain that seem to affect not just the ability to engage in conversation but the ability to be creative, too.

“Twenty years of glorifying all technology as if all computers were good and all use of it was good, I think science is beginning to embrace the idea that some technology is Twinkies and some technology is Brussels sprouts,” Richtel says. “If we consume too much technology, just like if we consume too much food, it can have ill effects. And that is the moment in time we find ourselves in . . .with the way we are digesting, if you will, technology all over the place.”

Richtel notices, he says, that he’s “not quite as engaged in my world when I’m constantly using devices as I am when I’m away from them.” Away from them, “I can give myself over to conversations a little bit differently.”

Awarded a Pulitzer Prize this year for his Times series “Driven to Distraction,” about the dangers of driving while multitasking with cell phones and other devices, Richtel says that the digital glut appears to not just increase distraction but decrease creativity. Leer más “Is Data Overload Killing Our Creativity?”