Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Two new studies show, again, that Facebook doesn’t censor conservatives
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 18, 2013, 2:17 p.m.

We posted a piece this morning on one way The Times of London tried, without much success, to get its (hard-paywalled) content noticed by the non-subscribing world. The paper’s Ben Whitelaw just posted about another.

The idea here is that, with the paywall, the newspaper’s journalists have to do extra-heavy duty promoting stories in social media, because the general web audience can’t be counted on to do it on their behalf. So The Times built a simple tool that, when an important story is published, sends an email to Times reporters asking them to please retweet it:

Owning an story can be hard on social media when you operate a subscription model…We thought about how we could change this and realised that our best weapon was our journalists, each with their own network of followers and fans. But we were asking a lot to expect them to keep track of stories breaking on social media (especially when on deadline) so we knew we needed a way of making it easy for them…

[Developer Alex Muller] then created an HTML template to display a single tweet inside an email, and used Twitter’s Web Intents to add links to simplify the process for journalists and others to retweet — one click in the email, and then one confirmation click on twitter.com to complete the action…

The result of using ‘The retweeter’ is that our big stories reach more people. For example, The Sunday Times Insight team had a big story on lobbying in Westminster which was retweeted by 30 people, most of whom were Sunday Times staff. Twitter analytics showed us that this tweet had reach three times greater than our usual tweets.

Bravo for figuring out a tool to simplify the process, although (a) 30 retweets for the lead Page 1 story for The Sunday Times still seems a little underwhelming, and (b) I imagine promotion by your own journalists, while valuable, can only go so far when your story itself is stuck behind a paywall.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Two new studies show, again, that Facebook doesn’t censor conservatives
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Mike Lee says fact-checking is a form of censorship, and Wikipedia explains how it plans to fight Election Day misinformation.
Facebook’s threat to the NYU Ad Observatory is an attack on ethical research
Facebook may defend its actions on the grounds of user privacy, but its real concern is losing control of how the company is scrutinized.
The Brown Institute’s Local News Lab is developing “smart paywalls” for local newsrooms
The new project helps small- and medium-sized news organizations take advantage of machine learning to deepen engagement and improve subscription conversions.