How news organizations are playing the social media game

There’s been more hand-wringing than usual in the media industry this week, after confirmation that Facebook is close to forming deals with mega-publishers such as Buzzfeed and The New York Times to host their content within the social media platform. It was wishful thinking to hope that Mat Yurow, Associate Director of Audience Development at the NY Times, would shed some light on his company’s top-secret talks when he appeared on the panel at last night’s Daily News Innovation Lab. Little is known publicly about the mechanics of these deals: how advertising revenue and data will be shared, whether smaller publishers will be strong-armed into the same models or simply left out in the cold, what impact it will have on publishers’ brand identity, and what the whole experience will be like for the user. All we really know is that rather than directing users to the publishers’ own websites, as is the current practice, the news will be brought to them in Facebook. It will necessitate a fundamental shift in strategy for most publishers, although for many that shift began last year when Facebook prioritized the display of videos hosted directly on its platform. It’s the latest step in Facebook’s seeming attempt to become the Walmart of the internet: a place where you can catch up with friends, record personal milestones, shop, do your banking, and stay across the day’s news. At the Innovation Lab, Yurow, along with Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore, Yahoo! Head of Audience Development Alex Leo, and The Intercept’s Digital Engagement Editor Rubina Madan Fillion, shared a number of useful insights into how...