The New York Times

The first photo published on The New York Times main Instagram account.
The first photo published on The New York Times' main Instagram account.

The New York Times Monday launched a primary account on the popular photo sharing network Instagram, the latest effort by the paper's audience development team to make New York Times journalism more visible on social media.

The account, @nytimes, joins several sister accounts showcasing the paper's photographic coverage of other topics, including fashion (@nytimesfashion), sports (@nytimessports) and travel (@nytimestravel), among others. The Times' main account will share work by both staff and freelance photographers to "provide richer context to breaking news, and experiment with an Instagram-first method of storytelling," according to a release from The New York Times.

The launch of the account has been in the works for some time. In February, Digiday's Eric Blattberg took a look at the paper's Instagram strategy and pointed out that The Times already had eight accounts active. Alexandra MacCallum, The New York Times assistant managing editor for audience development, told Blattberg the accounts are intended to build brand awareness rather than drive traffic back to The Times' main site.

In August, The New York Times named MacCallum to the paper's first audience development masthead role. The appointment was one response to the much-discussed New York Times Innovation Report, which critiqued the paper's adoption of digital strategies.

In November, MacCallum sent a memo to Times staffers outlining the composition of the paper's audience development team. The staffers included Cynthia Collins, who oversees the paper's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest strategies.

As of this morning, the paper had already published two pictures from photographer Bryan Denton, who "documented the beginning of the end of the Ebola outbreak" in West Africa. Throughout the week, the Times will publish shots depicting different kinds of beginnings to commemorate the account's launch.