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In wake of AP hack, Twitter looks to get serious about journalist relations

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Twitter Android 4.0 App Update
Twitter Android 4.0 App Update

A huge number of journalists already use Twitter, both for news-gathering and as a way to report on breaking events, but a new job posting indicates that the company is looking to further formalize its relationships with the journalistic community. The posting for a "head of news and journalism" calls for someone to "devise and execute the strategies that make Twitter indispensable to newsrooms and journalists" — the hire will work as a sort of liaison to to the broader journalistic community. The goal is for Twitter to execute a multi-year strategy to improve the quality of news on Twitter, enhance partnerships with journalists on Twitter as well as with their news agencies, and work with Twitter's product team to make sure the needs of those journalists are being met.

In addition to building relationships with the journalistic community, Twitter's new hire will be keeping their eyes on how journalists are using Twitter to communicate with readers beyond simple tweets. The job posting calls for strategies around how widely Twitter is being used as a news source, how well organizations are using Twitter products in their presentations (like embedded Tweets, cards, and full timelines), and how on-air integration with Twitter is being used.

All in all, it's a position with a tremendous amount of different facets, and it's perhaps the biggest sign yet that Twitter is quite serious about its place in the journalistic world. While Twitter likes to position itself as the so-called "global town square," the service has an ugly downside during breaking news — it's often hard to separate rumor from truth. Additionally, Twitter got more egg on its face when the AP's account was hacked last week. While increased security will help ease problems like this in the future, having an official journalist liaison probably will help smooth over any rocky relationships.