LA Times adds three, including 'Black Twitter' reporter


New hiring and a related personnel move today on the audience engagement side of the Los Angeles Times newsroom. This was announced by S. Mitra Kalita, one of the paper's three managing editors — she's the new one who's title and role is managing editor for editorial strategy. Whole memo is online at Poynter; here's some cherry-picking.

We are pleased to announce additions to our audience engagement team under the direction of Alexandra Manzano. This will no longer be a team that only tweets or posts to Facebook. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are simply one component of our strategy to build readership. For our stories to “do better on social,” we must think about audience and shareability at the outset. Our new colleagues will work across the newsroom to guide experimental storytelling, story selection, distribution and partnerships, and conversations with and among Times readers.

Michelle Maltais becomes deputy director for audience engagement. Together, she and Ali will develop strategies that strengthen The Times’ connection to community and conversation. She’ll also help train staff around the newsroom on new tools and techniques, and resuscitate efforts around our coverage of parenting….

Dexter Thomas joins us today to cover Black Twitter (which really is so much more complicated than that). He will work closely with the newsroom and #EmergingUS to find communities online (Black Medium to Latino Tumblr to Line in Japan) and both create stories with and pull stories from those worlds. Dexter is from San Bernardino and is a doctoral candidate in East Asian studies at Cornell University. He has taught media studies and Japanese and is writing a book about Japanese hip-hop. He began working in digital media at UC Riverside as a student director of programming at KUCR-FM (88.3), independently producing podcasts, music and news programs….

Annie Yu arrived recently as a producer. She will help define the voice of the L.A. Times and infuse shareability into our journalism through creative storytelling and packaging. Annie joins us after working at ProPublica in New York City as an audience engagement fellow. This video she created became ProPublica’s most successful piece of Facebook content ever….

Lisa Biagiotti joins us July 13 in a role straddling video and social. She will work closely with our photo, video, social, RealTime and Metro desks to help make multimedia offerings newsy, creative and shareable. Lisa, a New Jersey native who has been in L.A. for two years, has been an independent journalist and filmmaker. She was an inaugural Sundance New Frontier artist in residence at the MIT Media Lab. Lisa is the director-producer of “deepsouth” (2014), an award-winning documentary about poverty, HIV and LGBTQ issues in the rural American South….

Manzano was promoted to director of audience engagement in June. The #EmergingUS that Kalita mentions is the initiative started on the opinion side of the paper run by activist journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. His message of the day on Twitter is what I guess you would call an open tweet to "White America."


Added: Vargas points to a video up at the EmergingUS website.

Update 2: Some coverage:
All Digitocracy
Fishbowl NY

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