The sudden departure of Twitter Inc (NASDAQ:TWTR)’s head of news and journalism partnerships Vivian Schiller less than a year after joining the firm has left media watchers and analysts with many questions and uncertainty, says a report from NY Post. Schiller left her NBC digital job to join Twitter last year in October amid much hoopla.
Uncertainty over the departure
“Stepping down from Twitter so new global media lead @katies can reorganize as she sees fit,” Schiller tweeted on Oct. 8, in an apparent reference to the new head of media, Katie Jacobs Stanton.
Adam Sharp will replace Schiller and will be in charge of both news and government, and Stanton will report to him, according to a report of Re/Code. Back in July, another senior executive Ali Rowghani, chief executive officer, and Chloe Sladden, the former head of media, left the company. Schiller mentioned both of them in her note of thanks for convincing her to work for Twitter. She also said that it was a fascinating experience.
Katie Jacobs Stanton of Twitter said that the company has decided to merge its news, gov’t & elections teams in North America. Stanton also mentioned in a staff memo obtained by tech news site Re/Code that Vivian should be thanked for her accomplishments at Twitter this year. Further, Stanton said that her knowledge and experience in the field of journalism and her respect among industry peers has been significant to the company’s work and reputation with news organizations.
Analysts are now trying to put the pieces together and figure out what all the changes really mean.
Questions over Twitter growth plans
Jane Martinson wrote in the Guardian last week that an important officer vacating a post indicates a struggle going on in the company over the issue that whether the website should be a channel for journalism or PR. Martinson added that the difference in opinion is also apparent over whether the company with a subscriber base of 271 million monthly users believes that it can make money out of breaking news.
David Holmes, however, wrote in his article at PandoDaily.com that Schiller was always a glorified PR person. Holmes added that the initial job posting, which invited someone to work as a liaison between Twitter and news organizations, did not include a statement about taking in journalists or producing its own news or other things that “Martinson may mean by ‘getting serious about breaking news’.”