With the rapid rise in popularity of the virtual pinboard Pinterest, newsrooms have been experimenting with ways to use the new platform to share their original content, according to Mediabistro’s 10,000 Words blog. Mediabistro examines how The Wall Street Journal and various other news outlets have been using Pinterest as a journalism tool.
The Pinterest platform consists of user-posted “pins,” or added images, which other users can then “like,” comment on, or “repin” to their own Pinterest account, according to the Pinterest website.
“Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting,” the website said. “With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”
Popular topics include style, home decorating, cooking and inspirational photos and quotes. Users can also create pinning “boards” focused on a specific topic.
Though Pinterest is not necessarily ideal for hard news, Mediabistro suggests that news organizations can take advantage of the platform by sharing news in a visually intriguing way, such as featuring photos of breaking news events, interview previews, and journalist profiles.
In another article, Mediabistro highlights The Wall Street Journal’s “Quotes” board, on which editors pin “memorable” quotes from their articles, such as President Barack Obama’s statement regarding Trayon Martin, an African American teenager who was recently shot to death: “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” When users click on a quote, they are taken to the original article.
Brian Aguilar, editorial project manager for The Wall Street Journal, told Mediabistro, “There are so many memorable soundbites out there. This gives you the opportunity to really highlight them and pique people’s interest in a story.”
According to the "Newspapers on Pinterest" board, over 100 newspapers currently have Pinterest accounts.
Since users can share content they don’t own the rights to, Pinterest has also become the subject of copyright issues, Mediabistro said. However, if newspapers only post original content, editors shouldn’t have to worry about copyright infringement, the article said.
Under their “Pin Etiquette” guidelines, the Pinterest team advises users to credit their sources.
“Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source,” the website says. “If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Image Search or a blog entry.”
As many Pinterest boards for news organizations still seem to be in their planning stages, it remains to be seen how editors will decide to best showcase their content on the new platform, and whether Pinterest's methods of almost unlimited online image sharing will complement or hinder the news industry.