Michael Wolff comments on the job ad that Twitter is running, looking for a manager of news.
He suggests existing news execs, and that’s probably the kind of person Twitter is looking for for this job.
It’s a head-fake. This guy is a figure-head. He or she will be working with media companies, speaking at conferences, talking about how Twitter is helping media companies succeed in the age of realtime Internet-delivered news. He or she is a feel-good ambassador to the news industry. A person handing out complementary samples of pasta and baked goods while the real action is elsewhere.
The job is a bedtime story. News will be as it always was, with familiar faces and jobs, just with a new delivery system.
Meanwhile, the news system of the future is booting up all around Twitter, which is and always has been a coral reef. They need a new shipwreck to build around, and this time the sunken ship is the remains of the news industry.
Even at this late hour, I have a recommendation to any player in the news industry.
1. Create a river of news and put it on your home page.
2. Include all the news from your own organization, but include news from bloggers in your community.
3. Include the feeds of your competitors.
4. Deliver the best news product you can with today’s technology. You can link from the river to stuff behind your paywall, if you must, but the river itself must be freely accessible. Think of it as a river of ads for full-length stories.
5. No 140-char limit. Pick a higher number. There should still be a limit to the length of a synopsis. 500 characters is plenty. Most NYT synopses are much shorter than that.
6. Make nice with Twitter. You can do a head-fake too. 🙂