“Reddit editors work alongside our editors, who will be active on Reddit every day, to source potential stories,” explained Ashley Knierim, TIME’s director of digital operations. “When our editors select a story or user-generated piece of content, the Reddit community team will then reach out to the users for contact information so that our reporter can source the content directly.”
At Time magazine, Knierim said they’ll have a reporter and editor writing stories and working with the audience team to optimise the selections.
“Our readers are fascinated by how our lives in the real world intersect with our lives online. One of our top-read verticals on Time.com is Newsfeed, which often covers the moments and ideas that are capturing readers’ attention on social platforms,” Knierim explained. “Engaging with the conversations that are happening on Reddit is an important feature of this coverage. Some of the most entertaining, fascinating and shareable stories appear first on Reddit and we want to help our readers find it.”
As a source of user-generated content, Reddit occupies a special position in the news ecosystem. The site’s content is created by its community of 36 million users called “redditors” on approximately 12,000 categories called subreddits.
Recently, Reddit partnered with native advertising platform Taboola, with the aim of helping publishers participating in trending news. That partnership was announced in early October. But, they’re not the first. Early media Reddit participants include editors at the journal Nature, who collaborated with Reddit to engage with their readers and 4 million Redditors at r/science subReddit in 2013.
Journalists have long used the platform as a source for content, to follow trends and viral content. But, media companies using UGC isn’t new. The BBC, for example, has maintained its own UGC hub for years, with a team of journalists who scour social media sites for news that might contribute to, expand or find a new angle for stories, which they then verify and clear for broadcast.
Knierim suggested it’s impossible to talk about journalism without recognising the broad impact user generated content has on how we consume news. “Social media has allowed us to share and engage with stories from all corners of the world, and embracing that means understanding how valuable user generated content is,” she said. “Whether it’s a shareable home video or a news-making photograph, we think it’s important to capture this content and deliver it to our audience in a meaningful way.”
For Time magazine, the partnership focuses on growing their digital audience. “As we began to think of ways to grow our digital audience, we identified Reddit as a promising and powerful social platform to incorporate into our strategy, which involves meaningful collaborations with a variety of platforms and publishers,” Knierim said.
Over the past couple of months, TIME’s audience and editorial team began conversations with Reddit. Knierim said they brainstormed ideas for editorial partnerships that supported Time’s goal of growing TIME’s presence on the platform, as well as “using Reddit as a resource to further elevate our storytelling,” she said. “As a result, this partnership seemed like a natural fit.”
The goal behind the partnership is to serve Time magazine’s audience with the content they love, but to present it in a way that appeals to Reddit readers, too. “By working with Reddit to uncover entertaining, heartwarming, hilarious stories from all areas of the site, we’re able to package it in a way that’s easily and quickly digestible,” Knierim said.
“The goal of our partnership is twofold: With the help of Reddit editors and community managers, we’re hoping to surface shareable content on Reddit that is quickly rising in popularity as well as others that have perhaps gone unseen by the average reader, buried in one of hundreds of thousands of Subreddits,” Knierim said.
This means Time aims be first with trending content and stories that have gone viral, but editors will also adhere to the accuracy the brand is known for. “Because we are collaborating with the Reddit team, we’ll have more access to the Reddit users, which will allow us to better confirm the authenticity. We’ll take the same precautions and apply the same standards of reporting to these stories as we do any other,” she said.
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