Curating Social News: How News Organizations Decide Which Stories to Promote On Social Media

In recent years, social tasks and strategies have been integrated into work processes across newsrooms, and social media-based reporting and sourcing are taking an increasingly central place in journalism work. And yet, news distribution on social media is often discussed in strategic more than editorial terms. Many in legacy news organizations still consider the editorial voice conveyed on social media as extraterritorial and secondary to the core journalistic voice reflected in the full stories published on proprietary news sites.

For the majority of the public, however, social platforms have become a prominent source of news, and social content a significant part of the service offered by news outlets. Stories posted on news organizations’ social feeds are guaranteed enhanced visibility, accessibility, and public resonance, compared to those published only on their proprietary news sites. The editorial decision to distribute a certain story on social media is thus not only a coveted resource in the newsroom, but also a matter of public relevance.

This project examines the stories that news organizations promote on social media from an editorial perspective. The study will offer a comparison of the total body of content that news organizations publish on their own sites with the subset of content they promote on social platforms. By comparing the total body of stories published on leading news sites with the curated content they choose to amplify on social media (and the language used to introduce them), this study provides insight into the news landscape constructed on social platforms, and whether it diverges from the one offered on news organizations’ own proprietary platforms. Interviews with social editors will provide further insight into how they make curatorial decisions on which stories to promote on social media.

Project lead: Efrat Nechushtai

January 01, 2018