Lexi Mainland, the social media editor of the Times, said the paper does not have a specific policy for Instagram usage but that the usual social networking rules apply, and all Times journalists must be aware that everything they post is public. So far, the Times has limited its Instagram usage to fashion coverage, including the feed NYTimesFashion, because of the aesthetic quality to photos created by the app. “I find Instagram to be very beautiful,” Mainland said. “There’s something aesthetically pleasing about anything that makes people slow down and think about things like composition and color.”
So far, the Times has held off on using Instagram to publish news photography.* “We’re not keen on filters,” Mainland said, “and when we’ve thought about using it more, one thing stymied our efforts: You can’t link from Instagram to webpages and stories and other photos. It operates like a walled garden. I’m not sure that’s the best platform for publishers.”
The AP’s Lyon agrees that professional uses for Instagram are still evolving. “What we’re seeing is the use of a consumer device in a non-consumer setting,” he said. “Instagram might not be reportorial enough. But #aponthetrail is a worthy experiment in how to best leverage social media, iPhones, and talent.”
AP photographers to follow on Instagram include J. David Ake, Carolyn Kaster, Charles Dharapak, Kasie Hunt, Mary Altaffer, and Jae C. Hong.
*Correction: The sentence originally said that the Times doesn’t use Instagram as a reporting tool, but it’s more accurate to say it doesn’t use the app to publish its professional news photography.