Are Newsrooms Investing Enough in Social Media Staff?

Jim Romenesko hosted a debate about news orgs putting social media into the hands of junior staffers. But is that really the problem?

Until every digital-first publication has a social media “director,” their social strategies will be scrutinized. Jim Romenesko published an open letter on his blog this week from a reader:

From what I’ve been able to tell, news managers tend to put interns and junior staffers – people with little or no journalism experience – in charge of social media and let them go hog wild with little or no supervision or editing. When are these managers going to realize that social media is now their most public-facing venue? Would they put inexperienced kids in charge of front pages, homepages, or magazine covers?

His example included a few misspellings in some Facebook preview text: social media staff

Romenesko’s audience is made up mainly of journalists and publishing professionals who immediately took advantage of an opportunity to debate the value of copy editing and the assumption that only young people can “do” social media. There are a few things at play here:

1) Too many news organizations still, unfortunately, don’t get that social media isn’t an extra thing. It’s the whole point. You copy edit social updates just as you would an above-the-fold, front page, headline.

2) If you are asking interns to post to social media because it seems like an easy thing to do, you should train them in your style policies. And maybe give them more than lukewarm coffee in a break room. They’re publishing under your name. Compensate accordingly.

3) And then there’s this: 
social media staff

That hurts. If you step out of the digitally-savvy media centers like New York City and into the greater publishing world, that overlap is decreasing.