Getting more personal and focusing the content to the platform are some principles guiding advances in social media use at the New York Times.
From Journalism.co.uk, posted Aug. 7:
In February Liz Heron, a former social media editor of the New York Times, gave a keynote presentation to Journalism.co.uk’s digital journalism conference news:rewired and spoke about the seven ways the Grey Lady’s social team had been innovating.
Six months on and we recently caught up with social media editor Alexis Mainland (who was co-editor of social media along with Heron) about five of the innovations she is particularly proud of at the New York Times.
Mainland pointed to the following:
- Live-tweeting the London 2012 Summer Olympics (using the @LondonLive account)
- Google+ hangouts
- Personalizing the paper’s Facebook presence
- Targeted content on Pinterest
- Launching a new political Tumblr called The Agenda
Please read the entire article. But here are some flavour observations and quotes for the various points:
The tweets are part of the NYT Olympics home page, forming the centre column. In the evening, the NYT live-tweets highlights to match up with NBC’s TV coverage and also posts links to its related coverage.
“Whenever someone is watching the Olympics we are there with them on this account to watch with them, whether they are watching live or they are watching the US broadcast,” Mainland said.
“It’s been really fun and we have got a great response. It has been the most personal and detailed effort that we have ever undertaken on Twitter for the New York Times.”
Mainland said many media organizations treat Hangouts as low-production-value, high-volume news products.
“But we’ve taken a different approach and we are really looking at them as these little ecosystems where we have put a lot of effort into finding out the ideal participants from among our readership and our Google+ community.”
Columnists Gail Collins and Frank Bruni will be partaking in Hangouts during the Republican and Democratic parties’ national conventions later this month.
“We are fairly frequently adding New York Times coverage milestones into that timeline,” Mainland said.
For example, when the astronaut Sally Ride died last month, the team posted and date tagged the front page of the newspaper reporting her journey into space.
Another feature the 2.2 million followers of the New York Times’s Facebook page see is a changing cover photo, which introduces the community to another New York Times face.
Once a month the photo is switched to a different photo of a New York Times journalist in the field. Currently the picture is of 82-year-old fashion photographer Bill Cunningham (see above).
“We feel that Facebook is all about people and as Facebook brand pages now look identical for the most part to personal Facebook pages, so it is almost like it’s the New York Times person’s page.”
The NYT focuses on three areas with its Pinterest account – photography from the fashion, food and home design sections.
Every pin is from an individual journalist.
“One thing we noticed is that, like Facebook, Pinterest is all about each individual person’s taste and so we thought it would be missing something if each pin was just pinned by the New York Times,” Mainland said.
“So each person who is working on this project has their own Pinterest account and they pin from their own account, into the New York Times board, which they are a collaborator on.”
This Tumblr is designed to encourage discussion of the 2012 U.S. elections. Besides all issues, there are five subtopics – economy, security, world, health and planet.
“The whole point of having a Tumblr was to really engage a community that, coming up to the elections, seems very focussed on a lot of these issues. We are hoping that people re-blog these posts and add their own interesting commentary to them and we can see how this kind of content is impacting the conversation on Tumblr.”