Data from Ireland-based startup NewsWhip shows that the most viral stories are not always those curated on page one. Founder Paul Quigley told The Editor’s Weblog that this realization will challenge the mission of some news organizations, as social distribution favors emotionally-charged and unusual stories over traditional news.
As social networks become omnipresent, newspaper front pages are losing their lustre. A Pew Foundation study showed that social networks are now the greatest distributors of news, with 33 percent of young adults accessing news via social networks and only 13 percent through print and web newspapers. With more people sharing stories on Facebook and Twitter, fewer and fewer discover news stories through newspapers’ homepages and front pages. Quigley said this trend will likely be permanent, so news organizations need to learn to adapt a “social edge” to stay relevant.
“If we’ve got a story to tell it’s that social distribution won’t go away,” said Quigley, who will present NewsWhip at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London, 15-17 April. “Maybe Facebook or Twitter might go away, but the web of people is going to be how information is going to spread.