By James Bunting
Earlier this year, Reddit hired Mark Luckie as its first head of journalism and media for the link aggregate site. In that time, Reddit has come out with a wide range of tools for news organizations to engage with Reddit’s audience, more easily embed content from Reddit and keep track of content being shared on Reddit.
Reddit is the 27th most popular site in the world and the eighth most popular site in America according to Alexa.com, and news organizations are looking for new ways to interact with its users. Unlike other social media platforms, content popularity is driven by faceless user accounts, and, until recently, Reddit didn’t offer any tools for media. Both of these facts made it hard for news organizations to engage Reddit users, known as Redditors, who were sharing and commenting on their content. That is, until Luckie came on board.
In what new ways is Reddit working with publications to engage with their audiences?
Part of my role here is bringing media organizations closer to Redditors. Redditors are obviously sharing news from a variety of news organizations, and through partnerships, integration and engagement, people get to actually interact with the news organizations they care about. The overarching idea is, how can we boost that conversation and create more engagement? And, with that conversation, thinking about what innovative ideas can make that all happen in parallel.
How is a typical news article consumed by a Redditor?
With every news story, it varies depending on the source. With every piece of content on Reddit, someone has found the piece on a news site, and they have taken that link and submitted it to the community they think is most relevant. Some of the more catch-all communities include r/news, r/worldnews and r/politics. And then you also have very specific communities from gaming, knitting or moms. It can get very specific. The difference between Reddit and other social networks is the articles submitted are less likely to be time sensitive. So on communities like r/todayilearned a user might submit an article from a few months ago, and that’s what makes the Reddit news cycle really different and really fun.
What is unique about how Reddit users interact with news?
Reddit is very unique in that a lot of the users are not trying to build their personal brand, it’s not trying to show their own success or trying to please the crowd. They are really interested in sharing their personal stories and things that they actually care about. And that’s why the upvote system works so well, because people see these submissions and say, “I care about this too.” This is why the best articles float to the top; it’s genuine.
What is your ideal vision for how you would like to see Reddit used by media outlets?
We want to be able to give news organizations the tools to do their jobs, providing analytics, providing third-party tools or support. Our overarching strategy is to have a wide variety of partnerships with news organizations, and in the meantime we are creating the environment to foster those partnerships.