Nieman Foundation at Harvard
America’s Test Kitchen, “the Consumer Reports of cooking,” wants to grow to new platforms
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 9, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
Aisha Tyler in Badgley Mischka

The Wall Street Journal covers Fashion Week fashionably, finding uses for Pinterest and Instagram

The Journal has found the perfect story for two image-heavy social networks.

Aisha Tyler in Badgley Mischka

The incredible growth of Pinterest — the (invitation-only) social bulletin board dominated by young and female users — hasn’t gone unnoticed by news organizations. Like Tumblr before it, Pinterest offers the chance to reach massive, sharing-oriented new audiences — but also requires a different, more visual kind of editorial thinking. The Wall Street Journal is giving it an early try by looping in another booming young social app.

The Journal has deployed nine journalists to cover Fashion Week in New York, all armed with iPhones and Instagram accounts. They are encouraged to file constantly. (For fashion reporters, capturing photos is a form of note-taking.) Their tweets and images are automatically pulled into the Fashion Week section of the Journal’s website. The best ones are featured on Pinterest and re-posted on the Journal’s main Instagram account. The two social networks are perfect companions.

Wall Street Journal Instagram notePinterest is a “really fast-growing social network that a lot of people are super-excited about,” said WSJ social-media editor Emily Steel, who used to cover digital advertising and marketing for the paper — “a lot of people both in the digital media/marketing/tech world, but also consumers who are really into fashion and arts and crafts and food.” In other words, people who may not be big Journal readers.

I was embarrassed to tell Steel I didn’t know the Journal even covered fashion.

“One of the fashion reporters, Elizabeth Holmes — she’s super active on Twitter and Instagram and social media — and what she said is that she’s always gotten a really big boost in followers during Fashion Week, and that people will tell her that they didn’t realize that the Journal covered fashion,” Steel told me. “That’s also kind of the idea with Pinterest…It’s a cool way to expose the Journal’s content to some people who might not know about it.”

The Journal’s Fashion Week pinboard has attracted about 900 followers so far. The Instagram account, a few weeks old, is approaching 8,000 followers.

Steel said she took notice of Pinterest users sharing WSJ content among themselves. A few weeks ago the Journal started building out its own Pinterest boards — a board for hedcuts, those famous dot drawings of newsmakers; a board for historic WSJ front pages; a board for WSJ Magazine covers.

Sometimes it feels like social media moves as fast as fashion. At this time a year ago, Instagram was almost brand new but had already signed up more than a million users. Pinterest was barely on the radar.

Today Instagram has 15 million users and signs up a new user every second, according to the company. This month Pinterest reached 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors, according to data obtained by TechCrunch, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.” Visitors spend an average of 98 minutes per month browsing that site.

Jeff Sonderman said “it’s time for journalists to pay attention to Pinterest,” with its loyal, distinct audience. Time, LIFE, Newsweek, PBS NewsHour, and Mashable are among the other news outlets dipping their toes in the water.

Photo of Aisha Tyler in Badgley Mischka by Elizabeth Holmes/The Wall Street Journal, via Instagram

POSTED     Feb. 9, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
Show comments  
Show tags
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
America’s Test Kitchen, “the Consumer Reports of cooking,” wants to grow to new platforms
“We’d like to move to other platforms, particularly as we see the changes in how people consume television.”
A program from Poynter and ONA is helping foster a community of female leaders in digital media
The Women’s Leadership Academy provides camaraderie and concrete advice beyond a bundle of platitudes.
Come talk ad blockers with Nieman Lab and a set of experts in New York
We’re having our first event in New York City with industry leaders: Wednesday, December 2 at 6 p.m.
What to read next
How one blog helped spark The New York Times’ digital evolution
“I certainly had editors tell me that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Bird Week. But that was the best part of City Room…We were like unsupervised children.”
572News outlets left and right (and up, down, and center) are embracing virtual reality technology
Among those experimenting is The Wall Street Journal, which plans to open source its 360-degree mobile video and VR technology and hopes to turn VR into more of a mainstay of its storytelling.
502Podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like blogging circa 2004: exciting, evolving, and trouble for incumbents
The same trends we saw a decade ago — professionalization on one hand, platformization on the other — sure seem to be playing out again.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Windy Citizen
New Jersey Newsroom
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
American Public Media
The Washington Post
Investigative News Network