Some Newspapers to Staff: Social Media Isn’t Optional, It’s Mandatory

editedsocialmedited-social-media-word-cloud-tagsOver the past year, the editors of the Los Angeles Times led a newsroom-wide effort to better marshal the power of social media in efforts to distribute the paper’s content more widely.

They have begun to replace automated tweets on their brand accounts with staff members and have also started using a service called Simply Measured, which analyzes reporters’ use of social media. And they set a goal to move all their bylined writers onto Twitter and Google+.

They’re not alone. Newspapers across the country are paying more attention to how to motivate staff members to post articles to social media as a means to drive site traffic, especially amid print circulation declines and the dwindling relevance of the front page (and even the homepage).

Efforts to ramp up social media efforts vary by company, but American Journalism Review interviews with a random selection of 18 newspapers in March and April found that most encourage or recommend staff to be on social media, but few require it. The majority of the papers place more responsibility on editors, social media managers or digital producers to bring readers to their sites — most reporters don’t have traffic quotas, according to interviews.

A select few newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, require all bylined staff to be on social media.

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