The New York Times is beefing up their social media S.W.A.T. team; one comes from inside the building, the other, ProPublica. A memo from inside the Times, in which we learn what the social media masters at the paper of record need: A great understanding of Reddit.
The internal memo announcing the hires was written by the Times‘ Deputy Editor of Interactive News, Sasha Koren:
We’re thrilled to announce two additions to the social media and community team: Michael Roston and Daniel Victor.
Michael Roston, who has deftly operated the home page on the overnight shift for the last year and a half, will join us as a social media producer. Michael came to our attention last year with his smart, clever Twitter feed, then impressed us with his in-depth knowledge of Reddit, which he generously shared, encouraging us to do more to speak to that platform’s quirky user base.
Of his time on news presentation, Patrick Laforge notes: “Not many people could walk into the overnight home page job with as little time in the producer’s chair as Michael did. He became an obsessive student of the stylebook and headline writing, and a pioneer in using his down time from the job to embed himself in rewrite, copy editing, social media and other opportunities. He was always a cheerful presence on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, greeting his Twitter followers in the wee hours with witty remarks from the ‘Tower of News.’ If you’re not following him, you should be.”
From his work keeping @nytimes relevant with breaking news during the wee hours, we suspected he had an appetite for making more use of social media tools and thinking in the service of Times journalism. He’ll bring that appetite and a knowledge of homepage operations to the job, along with a deep experience in online news from previous positions at True/Slant, the New York Sun and the Huffington Post. He’ll move to daytime hours on June 11.
A brief interlude: Somehow, Roston’s witty Twitter acumen and familiarity with Reddit came before the fact that the guy was pretty much the last person out the door at both the New York Sun and True/Slant, the pay-writers-what-they-earn project that he basically helped give unlikely life to—and preserve said unlikely life—before it was gobbled up by Forbes (in one of the more depressing content model about-face moves in recent media history).
Also joining our team as a social media producer will be Daniel Victor, who comes to us from ProPublica, where he has been the social media editor. There and in earlier positions at Philly.com and TBD.com, he has conceived of and run successful and innovative projects making use of social media and other tools to thoughtfully engage readers. He was a reporter at the Patriot News of Harrisburg, Pa., and holds a B.A. in journalism from Penn State. He’ll join us at the end of June.
Please join me in congratulating Michael and welcoming Daniel.
— Sasha Koren
ProPublica’s social media presence is one of the few from media properties that actually deserves distinguishment beyond being mere promotional tools: Take, for example, their Officials Say The Darndest Things blog hosted on Tumblr, or the way they started a Patent Harm Facebook Group off of their stories about the health care industry, or the way they’re crowd-sourcing research on campaign finance. Also not a bad guy to bring on board, especially if the Times wants to do more with their social media than, say, the NYT Fridge.
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