A spokeswoman from The New York Times said this week that newly appointed executive editor Dean Baquet plans to start tweeting soon. The Twitterverse appears to be ready.
Baquet, who was formerly the paper’s manager editor, replaced Jill Abramson as the Times’s executive editor after she was ousted last month. He has promised to continue the paper’s tradition in investigative journalism while also developing innovation on its digital platforms.
But he hasn’t made any of his plans known on one of journalism’s most-used platforms — Twitter.
Related story: “Some Newspapers to Staff: Social Media Isn’t Optional, It’s Mandatory”
Twitter users have taken notice of Baquet’s silence despite his more than 6,500 followers.
Interesting: Dean Baquet @deanbaquet of the @nytimes has 0 tweets and more than 5500 followers #NYT #nytimes pic.twitter.com/ulqCiLYMej
— Gina Rubel (@GinaRubel) May 15, 2014
Vindu Goel, a technology reporter at The Times, is also among those who have pointed it out.
The official word is that NYT executive editor Dean Baquet's Twitter account is @deanbaquet. And no, he hasn't tweeted yet.
— Vindu Goel (@vindugoel) May 20, 2014
Another user noted the lack of the “verified” symbol on his profile, which Twitter uses on high-profile users to show authenticity. (The Times has confirmed that @deanbaquet is indeed the account of the executive editor.)
And no blue check either. #DeanBaquet pic.twitter.com/iYEJoX3xfv
— Bryan Stewart (@bryanwstewart) May 16, 2014
“In regards to Dean’s account, he plans to start tweeting soon,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, a New York Times Company spokeswoman, wrote in an email to AJR.
Rhoades Ha also pointed to social media successes at The Times, with nearly 700 of its journalists on Twitter and 11.9 million followers for its main Twitter handle, @NYTimes.
Social media referrals account for about 8 percent of The Times’s online traffic, she added.
Scrutiny over the social media activity of Baquet comes amid turmoil at the Times regarding its performance in the digital realm. In May, a leaked internal innovation report documented its efforts to keep up with rivals in distributing content online.
In particular, the report said the paper needed to make strides in social media. The report recommended that leaders “explicitly urge reporters and editors to promote their work … and thank those who make the extra effort.”
Baquet is a longtime newspaper editor who has also held posts at The Chicago Tribune and The Times Picayune. He won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting as well as many local and regional awards, according to the Times website.
And his Twitter account isn’t completely inactive. He follows 73 people. They range from Abramson to comedian Steve Martin and include many of his colleagues at The Times.
Perhaps the Twitter crickets are a clever ploy to build anticipation, or maybe Tom Mantzouranis has a point.
Laugh all you want about Dean Baquet's Twitter game, but only one of us is running the New York Times. And it ain't you or me.
— Tom Mantzouranis (@themantz) May 14, 2014
Nevertheless, the Twitter audience awaits.
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