All San Francisco Chronicle Employees Will Learn to Master Social Media (or Else)


That’s not quite what last night’s Mashable headline read, but we figured we’d dramatize it because clicks.

Speaking of clicks, most of the journalists we read are pretty good on social, but the San Francisco Chronicle apparently plans to begin putting all its reporters through “a startup-style incubator” that will teach them to master the digital world, increase traffic and, hopefully, stall that ongoing revenue slide.

We can feel worlds converging as we type this post…

The paper’s managing editor Audrey Cooper told Mashable that the project:

“…physically removes reporters from the traditional newsroom and gives them new digital metrics…to judge whether their stories have reached our core audience.

These metrics will include “real-time monitoring of the clicks we get from social media and other referral sites”. Sound familiar? Someone must have read last month’s story about Gawker‘s king of viral content (who is leaving that company due to problems with A.D.D., BTW).

Cooper says this experiment isn’t about deciding who will survive the next round of layoffs, and it’s a little disappointing that we aren’t privy to more details about what, exactly, constitutes a “social media boot camp” in the first place. The only real clue involves training everyone to use “analytics dashboards” to track their own stories.

We weren’t going to say it, but journalism and marketing are beginning to resemble each other more and more, what with the content creation and the stress over metrics and the facial hair. Primarily the facial hair.

Oh, and we also found it interesting that “the Chronicle‘s PR team claims the paper is ‘solidly profitable'”, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Because some things never change.