Why does The Telegraph want social and search specialists?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Slightly baffling post on Guido today:

The Telegraph has suffered an exodus of seasoned reporters yet there is good news on the horizon: the paper is hiring no fewer than five new “social media and search engine optimisation” staff. They will be working with “Director of Digital Media” Malcolm Coles to produce more of the Telegraph’s recent tepid Buzzfeed-style “trending news” content

So it does:

SEO and Social Media people – @mrjamescarson has 5 vacancies at @Telegraph from entry level to mid manager/editor. Email top of his profile

— Malcolm Coles (@malcolmcoles) October 22, 2015

Now, why on earth would The Telegraph want social and search experts?

Traffic share to publisher sites

Oh, yeah. Well, why would a website want experts in the things that drive 70% of traffic to publisher sites? What possible use could they be?

In fact the whole piece is just plain curious. It has so many buried assumptions – that search and social expertise can’t be used on “serious” journalism (which they clearly can, to boost its audience greatly), and that “fluff” content and investigative journalism can’t co-exist – that it looks like Mr Wickham may have an axe to grind. At the very least, he’s become a mouthpiece for someone with some deep issues with the current Telegraph setup.

Take note, for example, of the off-hand assertion that the “Buzzfeed lite” content is low traffic – and its lack of proof. That would be, I suspect, because that almost certainly isn’t the case.

It’s deeply ironic that Media Guido – a blog – is slowly devolving into 2008’s Press Gazette, telling us that all digital is bad and dumbing down journalism.

[Full Disclosure: The Telegraph is an occasional client – I provide training to their “furious to the point of mutiny” hacks, who have always been quite lovely, in my experience]

guido fawkesJournalismmalcolm colessearchSEOSocial Mediathe telegraph

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.