Twitter announced on Thursday it had hired former NBC executive Vivian Schiller to head its news operations, as the messaging service ramps up efforts in the field ahead of its stock market debut.
"We're thrilled to announce @VivianSchiller is joining the team as Twitter's new Head of News Partnerships. She starts in January!" said a tweet from the Twitter for News account.
Schiller has been the chief digital officer for NBC News since 2011, and has some 25 years experience in the media business. She is expected to be a key liaison between Twitter and the news industry.
Prior to joining NBC, Schiller was president and chief executive of National Public Radio and before that headed the day-to-day operations of NYTimes.com, then the largest newspaper website on the Internet.
She also worked at CNN and Discovery Communications.
The appointment highlights the growing role of Twitter and other social media in the news industry. Many journalists use the messaging platform for keep up with events, and also to get a wider audience for their own coverage.
A recent survey by Oriella PR Network showed some 60% of journalists surveyed in 14 countries use Twitter in their work, and 51% used some type of "microblogs" including Twitter and Facebook to gather new stories.
A Pew Research Center study released on Thursday showed Twitter rival Facebook is becoming a key source of news for users of the huge social network, even if people discover articles mostly by happenstance.
Twitter is in the process of launching an initial public offering (IPO) expected to raise some $1 billion. The deal suggests a valuation of $15 billion or more, according to analysts, for the San Francisco company.
The company announced in May it was seeking someone to be "responsible for devising and executing the strategies that make Twitter indispensable to newsrooms and journalists, as well as an essential part of the operations and strategy of news organizations and TV news networks."
The job description said the person would be "Twitter's representative to the news industry" and "manage Twitter's partnerships with newsrooms in the United States as well its relationships with journalists."