Lauren McCullough has been named as the new manager of Social Networks and News Engagement for the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Her role will include helping reporters to reach online communities, finding story material on social networks, informing editors of high interest topics within social networks, and promoting AP stories on social networks and in the blogosphere.
She will head the Social Network Center, one of the four sections of the new AP Nerve Center, or headquarters, in New York. The other components are standards, production, and the news center. The new heads of the News Center, Sally Buzbee and Tamer Fakahany, were announced this week.
Managing editor Lou Ferrara said that McCullough would bring experience in social networking across formats that would enable the AP to grow in this new area of journalism. "She understands the value of newsgathering within the social networks, as well as the need to have a voice within them," Ferrara said.
McCullough joined AP in 2006 as an online editor. Her recent experience includes leading the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court confirmation hearings blog and the Copenhagen Climate Conference blog for AP.
This follows the BBC's November appointment of its first Social Media Editor, Alex Gubbay, in an effort to be more 'social media conscious'.
In just a few short years, Twitter and Facebook have become indispensable tools for journalists. Having a social network manager appears to be becoming a key strategy for newspapers as well.