The New York Times’ John Herrman recently asked “Is there anything the rest of the internet can learn from LinkedIn?,” in relation to how people there are relatively civil there compared to purely social media platforms. Well, I’ve had similar questions and to get some insight, reached out to Katie Carroll, LI’s Managing Editor for UK and Daily News, Americas.
Hunter Walk: Wait, I thought LinkedIn was a resume and recruiting site. What does a Daily News Managing Editor do there?
Katie Carroll: LinkedIn is definitely a destination to find a job, but it’s also the world’s largest professional network — and that means we have a lot of people talking to each other about their industries, careers and more. We’ve been building up our editorial team to support and grow those conversations, and now we have more than sixty editors across the globe.
One of the main things we focus on is daily news, whether that’s through the Daily Rundown — a digest of news for professionals, which now has 13 editions in eight languages — or our trending topics, which are editorially curated conversations from members. One of the biggest facets of my role is overseeing that news coverage for the UK and North America.
HW: So does the definition of what’s News skew specifically towards career, business and the like? How do you think about politically charged topics or business-related stories that are really provoking potentially polarizing societal questions?
KC: Absolutely, we focus on stories that affect the professional world. Even with political or potentially polarizing topics, our lens is always how the news impacts business. Brexit is a great example: We don’t focus on the party politics, but we will talk about what it means for the economy, jobs or various industries. And when we write about these stories, we stay neutral — but our goal with the curated trending topics is to showcase different perspectives around a certain issue. Earlier this year, for example, we put together a collection of posts from furloughed workers during the government shutdown.
HW: Do people pitch you company PR that’s dressed up as news? How do you decide what to promote and what happens to that content once you feature it? Where does it appear?
KC: We do get pitched stories, and we consider those pitches the same way any team of journalists would — namely, is there news value? What does this mean for the wider industry or professional landscape? If we think there is news value, we’ll cover it in one of our trending topics or the Daily Rundown. But the nice thing about LinkedIn is that people and companies can post directly on the platform themselves; it doesn’t need to reach an editor to take off, if the content is insightful and sparking great discussions.
HW: What are some examples of stories that “went viral” on LinkedIn above and beyond the mainstream coverage? ie Does LinkedIn have its version of “The Dress?”
KC: One recent example was a post about companies “infantilizing” the workplace — that people feel they need to explain why they can’t be accessible 24/7. It went blew up both on and off the platform and generated some amazing conversations about the state of our connected world and what that means for workers today.
HW: You’ve spent a lot of time in SF but are now based out of London. How do attitudes about technology company and startups compare across the two regions?
KC: I spent the formative years of my career in the Bay Area, so one of the things I’ve found most fascinating about being in London is observing a different tech scene. On one hand, there’s nothing like the education you get (often through osmosis) about startups and tech when you’re in San Francisco. You’re surrounded by it, which has its pros and cons.
On the other hand, London has a diversity — of background, thinking, industry — that gives it a different atmosphere as a tech hub. I think we’ve entered a phase in which, as the Center for American Entrepreneurship says, “the rise of the rest is global” — which means we’re going to get different kinds of products and ideas than we would if the resources and talent were still solely concentrated in California. And as much as I love the Bay Area, I think it’s valuable for anyone in that tech space to spend some time outside of it; it’s eye-opening and inspiring to be exposed to fresh perspectives.