Nieman Foundation at Harvard
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Articles by Francesco Zaffarano

Francesco Zaffarano is a social media journalist and former engagement editor at La Repubblica.
“Platform-born news brands could prove better equipped than traditional organizations to leverage their relationships with online communities to build a more sustainable future for journalism.”
“Three years ago, I would have said that every platform is super different from the others. Now they’ve all become quite similar.”
“I picture a Discord server like a room full of chairs and people sitting and talking to each other, while posting on Twitter is like putting up a banner at a corner of a street.”
“Predicting the end of social platforms is the ultimate expression of a secret desire to put them back in the attic because we fear we will never quite learn how to use them.”
“Data can trick us into repeating the same patterns because they satisfy our current audience — instead of helping us build a larger or more deeply engaged one.”
“If the lesson to be learnt from the resurgence of journalism during the pandemic is that people do need journalism only on the condition that journalism proves relevant to their everyday lives, then the best way to meet this demand is to ask people what kind of information they need.”
“Don’t go on a platform if you have nothing to say on it. News organizations’ success on TikTok will depend on our effort to understand the audience populating that platform.”
“The people who own, manage, and shape them might go — but social media are not going away anytime soon.”