NBC News' Vivian Schiller has been tapped as the head of Twitter's newly launched News division, according to a report from All Things D. The report runs counter to earlier rumors that the job would go to Reuters' Jim Roberts, but Schiller is a natural fit for the post, having managed the digital end of NBC's news operation after serving as CEO of NPR for two years.
"There is no such thing as being platform agnostic."
She was notable at NBC as an outspoken advocate of social media as a tool for breaking news and spreading awareness. "I would have gotten the shakes if I couldn’t have looked at Twitter while I watched the debates," she told The Verge in an interview in November. At NBC, she was particularly aggressive about the news organization's Twitter presence, overseeing the team behind the popular @BreakingNews account while maintaining the importance of stories that don't fit into 140 characters. "In many ways Twitter is much better suited to fast-moving story than a longform piece," she told The Verge. "On the other hand, you can’t get the depth and context from Twitter."
The hire also comes at an interesting time for Twitter, as the company approaches its IPO and faces criticisms on diversity grounds. The company's news team is also making waves, launching an experimental direct message service called @EventParrot earlier today — a further sign of the company's unique approach to the news business. As Schiller said in last year's interview, "I’m a big believer that there is no such thing as being platform agnostic. You have to tailor the experience for every kind of platform and every kind of audience. So it’s more about being platform orthodox than being platform agnostic." With their latest venture, Twitter seems to have taken that message to heart.