A publication of the World Editors Forum


Sun - 21.01.2018

The role of the social media editor evolves

The role of the social media editor evolves

When you think of the term 'social media editor', what comes to mind? Do you think of someone whose hand is hermetically sealed to their smart phone, answering questions, making contacts and fighting against a tide of tweets?

For many social media editors, things can get a little overwhelming at times, particularly when a news organisation wants all hands on Tweet Deck during a breaking story. As the role of the social media editor has become increasingly important, its parametres have widened and many editors now find themselves performing more tasks than ever.

Poynter highlights how journalists are being forced to debunk invalid information or fake images on Twitter, in quest for authenticity.

Some social media reporters have decided that merely deciding not to re-tweet or pass on incorrect information is not enough; it is necessary to denounce it publically via Twitter to stop the spread of misinformation. Andy Carvin of NPR and Anthony DeRosa of Reuters are amongst two avid Twitter users that famously debunk invalid information for all to see.

What does this mean in terms of journalistic practice?

It means that those crucial stages in crafting a story, obtaining and verifying a source and corroboration of their information, are no longer done behind closed doors. The journalistic method is now on public display.

Debunking information is not the only way that social media editors are expanding their role. In an interview with WAN-IFRA, the editor of Norran, Annette Novak, explained how having a live-chat on their website that connects the audience directly to journalists in the newsroom has changed the way the newsroom as a whole operates.

"You have to change your time priorities. You have to have the social media platforms live in front of you all the time", which of course is why specialist positions have evolved to cater to the demands of social media in the newsroom. Novak emphasizes the value of social media as a "very efficient journalistic tool" which adds a "human touch" to stories.

So, don't dismiss a social media editor as some one who is simply paid to tweet; social media correspondents are quickly becoming, if they aren't already, the multi-tasking genii of the newsroom in the vanguard of reporting.

Sources: Editors Weblog, Poynter, Twitter: Andy Carvin , Anthony DeRosa



Katherine Travers


2011-09-05 17:17

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

© 2015 WAN-IFRA - World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

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