Only 33, Alexandra MacCallum was described as a “business-side executive,” who will have a dual reporting role to the news and opinion editors.
My, how times have changed.
A Different Kind of Experience
The paper’s Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, in her op-ed column last Sunday, noted, “Although in the past masthead editors usually have boasted foreign reporting experience, years of editing experiences, and perhaps a Pulitzer, these qualities were not germane.”
That was directly from the mouth of the Times’s Executive editor, Dean Baquet, who told her, “I just picked the smartest person I could find.” MacCallum’s appointment is one of many changes predicted in the Times’s own self-evaluation, called The New York Times Innovation Report that I wrote about a few weeks ago.
The New Paradigm
Purists may see this as splitting hairs when Baquet says the traditional wall is still up between advertising and the newsroom. “I see this whole group of talented, creative people as something like Switzerland,” he said, “a third universe” in which both the newsroom and business side collaborate on new ways to attract and keep readers.
Ironically, MacCallum was one of the first three employees at Huffington Post which years ago surpassed the Times in readership. She’s digital all the way.
How Readers Consume Content
The Times, like those of us who are “publishers” of blogs, recognizes that visitors to home pages are declining. Readers increasingly are conducting searches on their mobile phone for certain key words. The Times appointed a seasoned digital pro to engage readers wherever they consume content.
Bloggers need to follow suit. Most likely readers will not land not on your blog’s home page but in a post where you’ve carefully sprinkled key words like bread crumbs so people can find their way to your most relevant content. Maybe they landed on one of your posts through a social network like Twitter or LinkedIn.
The Social Media Funnel
We can’t overlook traffic from social networks. I don’t know about you, but I routinely use Buffer to post content of interest to my social networks. Possibly you use Hootsuite or another scheduler. But that’s what it’s become: simply a routine.
Smarter bloggers than me have developed a strategy for posting their content and cultivating relationships that will engage readers in their content. It isn’t random.
Do you actually participate in LinkedIn Groups instead of just posting your blogs? Have you engaged in one of the hundreds of twitter chats that are scheduled around the clock? I just took a look at the schedule and the topics range from Social Media to the Environment to Agriculture and Blogging #bloggab.
LinkedIn recently rolled out Pulse to all its members. This applications enables anyone on LinkedIn to become a content publisher. I’ve published two posts that have been read by close to 500 members, not nearly enough. But that’s since May. It’s easy to repurpose blog posts you’ve already written and LinkedIn is OK with that.
Striving to Survive
The New York Times is in survival mode. As the public editor reported, an NYU professor said recently, “The future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away in this decade.” We know the fate of most blogs. The owners lose interest, they write less and less content, ignore and forget to post to their social networks and eventually they end up in blog limbo.
The Times wants to stay alive and so do I. So, I’ll end this little pep talk to myself now. I hope it made you think more about your future, too.