In a tweet today, Twitter announced Chief Digital Officer of NBC Vivian Schiller as head of its News Partnerships. Schiller will be leaving NBC News at year’s end and joining Twitter in January. Schiller had been rumored as the choice for Twitter’s head of news for some time, including a report from All Things D earlier this month that she was a ‘lock’ for the role.
— Vivian Schiller (@VivianSchiller) October 24, 2013
Schiller has been at NBC Universal since 2011 and has held positions at the NYT, Discovery and NPR. Twitter began formally searching for a candidate for the position in April of this year. The original job posting noted that the person in the position would be “responsible for devising and executing the strategies that make Twitter indispensable to newsrooms and journalists, as well as an essential part of the operations and strategy of news organizations and TV news networks.”
Twitter is in the process of making sure that people continue to view it as a source for news. It’s currently experimenting with a breaking news notification account called @eventparrot and recently expanded its emergency alerts program. A large portion of Twitter’s development efforts over the past few months have been centered around big media partnerships with TV and sports organizations. But one of the earliest codified uses of Twitter beyond ‘here’s my lunch’ was breaking news. It was a natural jump from daily minutiae to daily news and then news by the minute. One of the prime early examples of this was the “just felt an earthquake” tweets that outpaced most traditional methods of alert. Twitter also began getting recommendations from governments for use during emergencies.
For some, Twitter is viewed as the biggest, most powerful unified conduit for real-time news that we have. Now, Twitter needs to convince news organizations to use it in a way that will benefit both parties. And that’s Schiller’s job.
Image: All Things D