Brian Feeney

News Orgs on the Fediverse

Ben Werdmuller:

Subsequent conversations have convinced me that I'm right about the assertions I made about the Fediverse for media organizations. There's a huge need, a huge opportunity, and the underlying technology is there.
What if we had a great experience that ties together both short-form discussion and re-sharing and long-form reading, in a way that better showcases both kinds of content and realizes that the way we consume both is different? What if it had a beautiful, commercial-level design? And what if it remained tied to the open social web at its core, and pushed the capabilities of the protocols forward as it released new features and discovered new user needs?

I'm on the same page. Media companies and newspapers everywhere could really benefit from a first-class fediverse client built for their exact needs. Posting to social media could be much more functional than sending out a small bit of text and an unfurled URL. I haven't done any exploration on this myself, but I sense in my gut that Ben's correct.

Three immediate ideas. 1) Full control over what content is pushed out to the Fediverse and direct ownership of the conversation which takes place around it. 2) Reporters for a newsroom can post from accounts on that instance, essentially bringing their official social media presence into a verified and trustworthy location. 3) A more controlled environment for publishing breaking news or simple updates.

I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of reporters and editors having their own accounts on a newsroom's fediverse instance. You can't beat the kind of legitimacy that provides. It also greatly extends a paper's reportage, piggybacking off of the personalities they employ. Because of social media, tons of reporters have higher profiles these days. It only makes sense to offer them an official place to break and discuss news related to the coverage of their paper. Of course, plenty of reporters would still prefer to have social media accounts outside of their place of employment. I'm just imagining how fruitful this kind of collaborative opportunity could be.

March 14, 2024