Facebook head of news products Alex Hardiman defects from Facebook for The Atlantic
One of Facebook’s big hires to improve its relations with publishers is leaving for The Atlantic. Alex Hardiman was head of news products for Facebook, collaborating with news partnerships head Campbell Brown. Hardiman joined in 2016 after a decade at The New York Times, where she led mobile and news products.
At Facebook, one of her big projects was developing a subscription product for publishers, which released some results in June that it called “promising” but were still small and limited to 12 publishers. Her team also was testing a tool to help publishers optimize the performance of their posts on Facebook and developed a “breaking news” label for news. Her exit comes just as she was prominently featured in a CNET article last week heralding women as the people who would solve Facebook’s fake news problem.
Facebook said Hardiman would be replaced and that the work she oversaw would continue to move forward, with her direct reports supported by her manager Tom Alison, vp of engineering at Facebook.
Facebook has hired news organization vets like Hardiman who have tried to be strong advocates for news publishers within the company, but Facebook’s dominant culture is an engineering one, and its record with journalism is mixed.
Facebook has struggled to figure out how to keep fake news off its platform and elevate high-quality news outlets. In January this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the platform would emphasize users’ posts over brands and publishers’, a strategy change that’s resulted in a 25 percent drop in referral traffic to publishers in the past year. Other high-profile journalism hires who recently left Facebook include Aine Kerr, who was manager of journalism partnerships.
The Atlantic has been on a 100-person hiring tear lately with help from investment by Laurene Powell Jobs, and Hardiman will serve as chief business and product officer, signaling an emphasis on digital innovation at the publisher. In her new role, she’ll focus on improving the user experience on all platforms; and work on building its digital consumer business, which includes a paid membership called The Masthead. She’ll report to Atlantic president Bob Cohn. In a memo to staff, Cohn emphasized Hardiman’s news background, calling her a “news junkie” with “journalism in her blood” and praising her work helping the Times evolve into a digital-first news organization.
“Her passion and experience will be a big asset as we, with support and encouragement from [the Powell Jobs-run] Emerson Collective, seek to make The Atlantic an even more indispensable part of our readers’ lives,” he wrote.
‘Total whack a mole’: Rogue political ads create mounting brand safety problems for publishers
The political ads flowing through open exchanges are creating a brand safety dilemma, despite the safeguards put in place.
‘An election night that could last weeks’: How news publishers are updating their digital strategies for the results long haul
Before they are able to make their call on who wins the presidency, news publishers could have a month-and-a-half past Nov.3 to compete for audiences.
‘Asymmetrical in every sense’: The latest console wars see Sony and Microsoft pursue diverging battle plans
The console wars are back, setting the stage for the latest bout in the long-running battle between Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox brands.
SponsoredB2B events were broken before the pandemic, their online reinvention is creating positive change
Kim Darling, executive producer, Inbound Farewell lanyards, business cards and branded pens — it’ll be some time before people get their hands on these souvenirs of in-person events again. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the way people work, buy, sell, socialize and entertain themselves, the global events industry is facing its biggest-ever challenge. […]
‘Walk before you run’: Sports publishers look to blow out their betting content
Over the past 12 months, several large sports media brands have signed partnership deals with sports books
‘It’s a virtuous cycle’: Audiences and advertisers seek health and wellness content and publishers are seeing green
Publishers are building new content products that give audiences more health and wellness content and advertisers more partner opportunities.