6 Innovative Uses of Tumblr by Newsrooms

by Ethan Klapper

More and more news organizations are using Tumblr to share content, with each taking a different approach to using the popular microblogging service.

Some, like NPR, use Tumblr strictly to link to their own content. Others like Newsweek, use Tumblr to curate the entire Web.

Here’s a look at how some news sites use Tumblr.


Newsweek was one of the first news organizations to use Tumblr. Tumblr itself hired Mark Coatney — who created and ran Newsweek’s Tumblr — over the summer as its media evangelist.

Newsweek’s tumblog features a potpourri of the newsweekly’s content as well as fun (and sometimes random) stuff found across the Web.


At the other end of the Tumblr spectrum is NPR, which features a much simpler theme. But the most striking difference, compared to Newsweek, is how NPR uses Tumblr: As an internal curation engine.

Followers of NPR’s Tumblr are treated to the picks of the editors on NPR’s social media desk. The public radio giant uses Tumblr to feature more offbeat stories, like a profile on a landscape astrophotographer and astronomy journalist.

Interestingly, NPR does not embed any audio on its tumblog (a feature supported by Tumblr). However, NPR does embed YouTube videos.

Evening News Shows

Both “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News” have tumblogs. Despite the intense competition between these two shows (read more at our sister blog TVNewser), both shows see eye-to-eye on a core element of their Tumblr strategies: Link aggregation.

Both tumblogs do morning link aggregation posts. For “Nightly,” that could very well be the only post of the day. Other posts deal mainly with the show, or NBC News.

The “World News” tumblog is far more active, posting and reblogging from sources as varied as the Huffington Post, Comedy Central and even msnbc.com.

Washington Post Style section

Not many newspapers are on Tumblr. The New York Times has been “Coming soon!” since June 24. The Washington Post looks like it is not beyond the domain squatting stage.

But The Post’s Style section does have a Tumblr, and it does not disappoint. A cool, regular feature is the posting up of page proofs.

While the tumblog is heavy on internal promotion, a nice mix of offbeat posts are featured as well, including YouTube videos of “Sesame Street” and Don Draper, of “Madmen.”

The New Yorker

The New Yorker’s popular tumblog is a mix of the aggregation posts seen in the evening news tumblogs and the posts of page proofs that The Washington Post’s Style section posts.

Occasionally, the “To Do List” is posted – a narrated aggregation post that sends readers to news sites around the Web. The magazine’s new covers — which are literal works of art — are also posted on the tumblog. Other posts on this tumblog tend to promote content on the magazine’s website.

Other news organization tumblogs to check out

Here are a few other Tumblogs to check out.

UPDATE: Links below The Economist were added post-publication, at the suggestion of commenters, tweeters and e-mailers. Feel free to share with us a tumblog not currently on this list.

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