Tag Archives: Jennifer Preston

The Globe and Mail: three communities editors embedded in the newsroom

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The Globe and Mail was one of the first – if not the very first – major news organization in North America to recognize the importance of engaging with its community when it created a newsroom position for someone whose focus was just that.

Mathew Ingram, who became the Globe’s first Communities Editor in late 2008, said he’s “pretty sure it was the first social media editor type job” in the continent.

“At least I haven’t come across a mention of anyone who had one earlier than that. And when the New York Times got one, [Former Communities Editor Jennifer Preston] called me for advice,” said Ingram, who is now a senior writer for Gigaom.

The Globe’s connection to its community continues to run deep. The national news organization now has three communities editors: one in embedded in the newsroom’s Business, News and Features sections.

This is modeled after The Guardian’s newsroom, Jen MacMillan, the Globe’s Senior Communities Editor explained.

“First we had Mathew, one person in the role with fantastic ideas,” MacMillan said in an interview. “It’s great to see how the newsroom evolved.”

Indeed, the twitter account that Ingram set up for @globeandmail now has more than 213,000 followers (and growing), as well as smaller accounts for individual sections; its Facebook page has more than 68,000 fans; and its Instagram account is growing by leaps and bounds.

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The ethics of using user-generated content

While social media platforms have vastly increased the speed by which a reader can submit content, an ONA ethics panel agreed that traditional verification of sources is more important than ever.

During a panel of the Ethics the Community Newsroom, Jennifer Preston of the New York Times pointed out that her paper has been publishing user-generated content for centuries – in the form of letters to the editor from readers.

User-generated content (UGC) is not new, but the need for verification is more important than ever before, Preston said.

Fergus Bell, Senior Producer and Digital Newsgatherer for the Associated Press in London said that when he finds content he’d like to put out on the AP wire, he has a system of sourcing and verification that includes:

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