The fracas has left veterans of the social web feeling both vindicated and a little bemused. On the one hand, social media has become so central to a newsroom's mission that dedicated functionaries may be obsolete. On the other, doesn't every outlet need a boy or girl wonder to lend a human touch to the Twitter handle? Whether it's a day of reckoning or a sign of maturity for the social media editor, the role has never before been more embattled.
As one senior editor at a leading news outlet told me, "I both agree that the social media editor is dead and I just hired a social media editor."
There was an awful lot of noise and very little signal around this discussion. The end state is pretty obvious:
- Social media skills will be integral to all journalists' work
- The specialised social media editor will disappear
- The need for dedicated community-centric editors will remain, but their role will be larger than just social media