What does an effective social media team look like? Scott Kleinberg says it starts with a leadership position that solidifies social media as an integral part of journalism, not just an afterthought.

Kleinberg, a social media editor at Crain Communications in New York, was a longtime social media editor for the Chicago Tribune and author of the syndicated column “So Social.” He wrote this “job posting” to describe the ideal hire for a newsroom’s current and future social media needs.

Read the full study: “After a decade, it’s time to reinvent social media in newsrooms”

“A social media editor’s role is among the most important in journalism,” Kleinberg said. “While this job posting was aspirational just a few years ago and may remain that to some extent today, it’s anything but for a newsroom focused on the future.”


Title: Associate managing editor: social media, engagement and audience
Date posted: Nov. 1, 2017
Job status: Full-time
Salary: negotiable
Description: Are you a skilled wordsmith with strong leadership and journalism skills? Is your first thought during breaking news to tweet updates and curate conversations on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? Do you remember what you were doing the moment your Twitter account was verified and can you recite every celebrity you follow who follows you back? Do you order lunch based on how it looks on Instagram?

If you answered yes to all of these and are ready to take your skills to the newsroom — a highly visible position reporting directly to the editor — then you should apply for our new role of assistant managing editor of social media, engagement and audience.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

• You must have at least 10 years experience working at a daily newspaper, professional social media experience included. Merely being on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram does not qualify you for this role. The ideal track for this job will be a reporter or editor who moved into social media and digital and now wants to expand on those skills.

• You will be responsible for leading a team of 5 social media editors — one for each main section of the paper (breaking news, news/features, business, sports and entertainment) — all of whom will be responsible for their own assistants and interns. They’ll be your direct reports.

• You will ultimately be responsible for building a team of community managers, producers, designers and content creators who will tell our newspaper’s story from an entirely social media perspective, one that’s shareable, compelling and fun.

• You must be able to think big picture, because you’ll be in charge of building and driving our strategy to increase trust and engagement, fight misinformation, and help turn our fans into subscribers and advertisers.

• You will be responsible for our social media budget (freelance and general) and recommend/implement vendor relationships related to social, audience and engagement.

• You will be responsible for overseeing our newsletters and other products, including ones we haven’t thought of yet.

• You will work regularly and closely with our marketing, advertising and events teams. The days of editorial sitting separately on one side of the newsroom are gone, so get ready to make friends and roll up your sleeves.

• You will create the newsroom’s social media policy and be ultimately responsible for making sure it’s respected and followed.

• You must understand that good social media goes way beyond posting content; you get excited about the audience and engagement side of the equation, whether analyzing daily analytics or performing a yearly audit of subscriber conversions..

• You know the difference between journalism and promotion, and excel at both.

• You will be masterful in using data and crowdsourcing to find stories and bolster our investigative journalism.

• You are well-versed in copyright law and understand fully why that’s so important.

• You are addicted to breaking news. You tell Google trends what’s trending, not the other way around. But while you’re concerned with being first, you’re more concerned with being right. You have and can teach others the tried and true methods of sourcing and verifying material on all platforms.

• You enjoy being social. You don’t have hundreds of followers, you have thousands. And you don’t look at Facebook merely as a way to stay in touch with friends, rather, you utilize it to gain new consumers of our content. Your middle name is engagement.

• You will build true integrations of social media, print and digital efforts, making sure the work you and your team does is widely disseminated through all channels.

• You must understand that the social media platforms of today aren’t necessary the ones of tomorrow. Therefore, you must be ready to experiment with varying degrees of success. If the next Facebook does come along, we want to get it right so we can be early leaders in the space.

• You will be responsible for attracting top notch talent to drive new initiatives, short-and-long form video, audio and video podcasts, AR and VR, and all their future iterations.

• You’ll represent the newsroom at conferences, on panels and at job fairs.


• Must possess a valid passport. Travel may be necessary — especially time travel as you keep informed about new and emerging platforms and best practices.

• Plus, but not required: M.B.A.

Tweet a link to your online social media portfolio (no printed resumes or phone calls, please, this is 2017) and tell us in 280 characters or less why you’re the right person for this role. Bonus points if you can do that last part with the perfect gif.

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