Quick update from the The Washington Post newsroom: starting July 1, I will join the foreign desk as the world and national security producer. Anup Kaphle (who has been the world/national security web editor on the Universal News Desk) and I will be moving from the UND to work directly with the world and national security teams.
I’ve had a great experience working with the health, science, environment and wellness reporters and editors since I joined the Post in December and am very excited at this new opportunity be a full member of the foreign editing team — truly integrated with the section.
What’s next? I’ll be returning April 7 to Virginia Commonwealth University, where I visited a graduate journalism class last October. This time I’ll be speaking about new media (can we drop the “new” already?). VCU journalism professor Marcus Messner, who got his doctorate from UM (go Canes!), will be posing some questions before a Q&A with students.
Defining the role of a social media editor has recently become a hot topic after Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston), who holds that title at The New York Times, went one month without tweeting. For some context:
Taking a step back, why should any chief social media person even be called an editor? (For the purposes of this post, let’s not debate the use of “social media,” which I happen to like.)
One reason may be so it fits into the traditional print lexicon; thus, it’s easier to understand what that person does because the term sounds familiar. This isn’t horrible, but it’s framing the position in the wrong mindset.
Instead, this position should be established outside the context of any medium. Neither this role nor the person in it should assume the title and implied limitations of a comparable leadership position.
Whoever leads social media at a news org should lead it for all platforms. And one manner that’s often forgotten is (brace yourself) human interaction.
All of this is not to prescribe a universal “social media editor” job description. I actually think that definition is something a news organization should outline on its own. (Like many things, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.)
Thankfully, we have Twitter to help us simplify the various descriptions being proposed. Here’s my less-than-140-character response to a discussion started by Patrick Thornton (@jiconoclast), editor of BeatBlogging.org:
“Social media editor should be a pusher and a user. Moderate, communicate, curate, facilitate & educate.”
I’d recommend reading the other responses, which you can follow and respond to with the hashtag #smed.
How would you define the role of a social media editor?
1:00 — Opening remarks
1:15 — Nigel Holmes on visual communication
2:15 — Joe Hutchinson on being a better art director
3:15 — Sarah Slobin on the shift from print to online
4:15 — Matthew Ericson and Shan Carter on interactive graphics
(Full disclosure: I’m the CoPress community manager, as well as a core team member.)
In a major move to help college newspapers thrive online, CoPress has announced a plan to move interested papers to WordPress and host the sites for a low monthly fee, plus a minor initial setup cost.
Or, if you’re just looking for low-cost hosting sans WordPress, that’s also an option. If you go that route, you don’t pay the initial setup cost.
What’s the advantage? Well, when you consider how much money your college news site could generate if you sold all the ads, and therefore took in related revenue, choosing CoPress could pay for itself.
Not to mention the fact that you have complete control over your site. That, in my view, is the most attractive reason. I oversaw The Miami Hurricane‘s move from College Publisher to WordPress last summer and wish CoPress existed at the time.
But, whereas our situation allowed us to make the move on our own, many school papers don’t have a server or the technical know-how to make such a move. Or, if you do, you can avoid a possible headache (particularly in transfering your College Publisher archives) with a little help from your friends.