Neal Mann (@fieldproducer) joins Wall Street Journal as social media editor

Neal Mann is joining Wall Street Journal’s social engagement team, announced Raju Narisetti, managing editor of the Journal’s digital network. Mann is the latest high-profile social media hire for the Journal, which recently plucked Liz Heron from The New York Times. Heron, who will supervise Mann, said by email:

Neal and I have met several times at various journalism events in the UK and New York, and knew each other’s work through Twitter, of course. I was always impressed by his coverage of international news in particular, and knew his colleagues thought of him as a valuable team player. When I found out he was going to be leaving Sky, I immediately started brainstorming about out how I could bring him to WSJ.

What appealed to me was his combination of serious journalism chops and willingness to embrace new ways of covering the news, especially though Twitter.

I also want to make social video a priority for WSJ, and Neal’s television background will help us be both experienced and and innovative there.

He’ll start out in London, which will actually help give the team some social coverage in the early morning hours, U.S.-time, and he’ll be a real asset to us for the Olympics. I hope to bring him full-time to New York soon.

Heron notes that Mann will be “one of several social editors on my team — joining Emily Steel and Brian Aguilar.”

Narisetti hired Heron after leaving The Washington Post to rejoin the Journal three months ago.

In March, Mann left Sky News, owned in part by Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp., also owns the Wall Street Journal. The Guardian’s Media Monkey blog reported at the time that some Sky journalists were unhappy with new social-media guidelines there. Mann is a prolific tweeter, with 44,880+ followers.

Read the memo announcing the hire:

We are delighted to announce that Neal Mann, one of the UK’s most well known pioneers in social media journalism, is joining The Wall Street Journal Digital Network’s social team as an editor. In this key role, Neal will build on our ongoing efforts to cover stories, particularly outside the US, with new storytelling tools and deepen engagement with our readers globally, as well as work on innovative ways to expand our video efforts into the social media realm. He will report to Liz Heron.

Most recently, Neal was Sky News’ Digital News Editor in London, working for Sky News both at home and in the field, initially as Deputy News Editor for home news. Last year saw Neal covering foreign news, working in the field to report on the conflict in Libya. Neal has pioneered the use of Twitter and social media to help break news, and is well known for his news coverage of UK politics, the arrest and subsequent extradition of Julian Assange, the UK phone hacking scandal, and student protests over tuition fees, among other stories.

Neal (@fieldproducer) was named one of the UK’s most influential journalists on Twitter by both The Observer and The Independent, and regularly lectures and speaks on the subject of social media and journalism.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Neal (@fieldproducer; Facebook.com/fieldproducer). He starts on May 23 and will initially be based in London.

Raju Liz

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