This evening there was some buzz about Newsweek’s Tumblr, after Nieman Lab tweeted about it. Its design is quite nice and it includes a lot of content that is curated outside of Newsweek. A few news orgs included their Tumblr links, including Minnpost and Nieman Lab. Both of the accounts mostly serve as feeds for tweets and posts. Sound familiar?
This sort of is like using Twitterfeed on Twitter, mostly a dumping ground for RSS news feed or basically how newspapers treated the Web at first, a dumping ground for print stories. Now, this isn’t to criticize either Nieman Lab or Minnpost for not using it effectively. After all, both of them actually have Tumblr accounts, which deserves some credit for experimentation. Mathew Ingram, the communities editor at The Globe and Mail discussed via Twitter the issue of having resources to use these platforms effectively. The truth of it is that new tools and platforms come along all the time, and for news organizations to have a presence on these platforms it takes resources, which usually translates to money (something news orgs are cutting back on). Tumblr is growing and it’s one of the difficulties is knowing when that investment should come. But perhaps a more realistic question should be asked: Can news orgs be everywhere?
Jen Preston, New York Times social media editor answered this question via Twitter:
This makes a good case for why news orgs need to keep up and stay relevant in a time of social news. Seamus Condron from Mediabistro pointed out that there is a difference between being everywhere and engaging everywhere, which Preston agreed with. This is a very valid point and comes back to the issue of resources. News organizations should prioritize what they can invest time in effectively. I want to come back to the point of being where conversation is. What if the conversation isn’t taking place on news websites, but instead is shifting to the likes of Twitter and Facebook? It seems that more news websites are becoming fragmented and the ones that are given attention for being innovative and relevant are those that have a strong and effective presence elsewhere.
I have touched on the topic of news sites moving to social platforms altogether, but is this actually possible? Will the next news company not have a Website, but a presence on various platforms? The obvious answer isn’t that simple. It’s easy to say no because many of these platforms don’t generate revenue and a news company wouldn’t have much control or customization of how to present the content. It’s only time before someone comes up with a business model that would allow news companies to generate revenue on these platforms. When these platforms (yes, when) start to generate revenue, perhaps that is when the shift will take place.
What do you think? Is it possible for news organizations to be everywhere?