Jeremiah Sturgill

code etc.

NY Times on Social Media

The New York Times has an article up on its experience with social media.

It’s an interesting glimps at the intersection of journalism and promotion. Watermarking photographer credits, so that they wouldn’t be lost when the photo was viewed in different contexts, is probably the ethical thing to do. Their brand watermark seems to be reasonable in size and obnoxiousness, but its inclusion is obviously less about what’s right and more about protecting their brand.

From the article:

The workflow of watermarking photos on a custom basis in photo editing software was inefficient. So our Interactive News developers built a watermarking tool that made it easy to add photo credits to any image social media editors wanted to use on Twitter. After testing the tool during New York Fashion Week in September, it became a standard part of our team’s editorial workflow. It preserved the Times pedigree of photos, and the crediting of our photographers became more engaging.

My bad–I meant to say preserving their pedigree, not protecting their brand.


Later it talks about “peacocking” an audio-diary tweet about a man who loses his eyesight. I thought they had the wrong takeaway from their performance metrics. The original, less performant tweet lays the product out clearly, but without any sizzle and in a workmanlike manner:

Op-Docs: A short documentary on a writer who became completely blind and chronicled the experience in an audio diary

The one that did better shared characteristics with the current trend of clickbait from Upworthy, Buzzfeed, etc., in that it provides a salacious detail out of context to grab readers and pull them in.

As he lost his eyesight, he knew he couldn’t let blindness destroy him

Hopefully the NYT doesn’t stray too far in that direction. Journalism and marketing are inherently in conflict with each other. If they do wind up in the weeds, though, they can always reach out to me for assistance. I know one weird trick that can double their clickthrough rates and tripple their integrity in less than six weeks.