de.tech.ting

Traditional media makes an untraditional move

Posted by andreaitis on May 26, 2009

First, the June 1 cover of The New Yorker is created using a $4.99 iPhone app.

Now, the New York Times has hired a social media editor.

Right about here someone should yell “Stop the presses!”.

As readwriteweb.com notes:

It has come to this; the flagship institution of traditional journalism now has an editor level position dedicated to new media.

Little is known about Preston’s personal use of social media, she’s either using aliases or is remarkably quiet around the web, and details are still forthcoming about the new position she’ll fill. The Times has done a remarkable job of engaging with social media so far, though, and we have high hopes for this new post.

Preston has worked at the New York Times for more than a decade, and spent the last two years running the regional weekly sections and content for nytimes.com/intheregion.  She’s also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a book author.   When RWW did some due diligence on her social media prowess, this is what they found:

She has a private Twitter account that she’s just begun to open up this morning – but apparently she hasn’t published any tweets there yet, ever. She is following almost 160 people so far, though, far more than are following her to date. So she could be using it for listening.

She’s also got a private FriendFeed account, a private Yahoo account and an unused Tumblr account. The BackType comment search engine can’t find any comments she’s left on blogs around the web.

After this announcement, her Twitter followers shot up to over 2000, and she was actively engaging with twitterers in her debut as Social Media Editor.

Two  steps forward in this expect-the-unexpected week.  Are they gimmicks, shallow nods…or a real effort to move beyond the page?  Does it really matter?  It’ll get people talking and thinking and perhaps push others to do something unexpected and untraditional.   Traditional media needs to try and test and tamper, to experiment and maybe even blow up now and then.    You gotta light the match before you start the fire.  And lord knows, there’s plenty of paper to burn.

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One Response to “Traditional media makes an untraditional move”

  1. marcflores said

    While I’m neutral about the old/new media wars, I’m glad to see NYT dipping its toes in some new waters. It does, however, seem like they nudged someone to join a couple of popular social networking sites without delving too much into it. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction since a lot of print publications are transitioning to web.

    I will dearly miss paper. Its smell, feel and the sound it makes when you flip through it – maybe something my grandchildren will never experience if the kin of Kindles are the future.

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