You may have seen a few weeks ago that the New York Times put out a job advert for three social media producers to tasked with enhancing the presence of The Times on social channels and creating new ways to engage readers more deeply with our journalism, both on NYTimes.com and on social platforms.’

What is interesting, aside from the fact that NYT are hiring for three producers at a time when jobs in journalism are scarce, is the key responsibilities in the advert. Because the first two jobs on the list are not what you might expect: to ‘disseminate knowledge of social media best practices and tools throughout the newsroom’ and to ‘advocate for use of social media and user-generated content on NYTimes.com’.

Only then, bullet point three, does it state that part of the role is to help maintain the day-to-day functions of The Times’s social media operation which many may have thought would be the main part of the job, especially with a job title including the word ‘producer’. A remit to ‘develop creative new ways to involve our readers in our journalism’ makes up the responsibilities on the ad.

It somewhat shocked me that there was a strong educatory element to this role and, at the same time, it didn’t. It shocked me because this is the New York Times and they are one of the forerunners in presenting a coherent and cohesive social media output, which was until recently headed up by the excellent Liz Heron before she moved to the Wall St Journal. Several of their journalists have serious klout on Twitter and use Facebook in a way that other organisations only dream of. And yet it, obviously there are journalists at the New York Times who still need help with social media and its potentially valuable role in the coverage of a news event. I say it didn’t shock me because that’s the case sometimes at The Times and, I imagine, every media organisation that has witnessed the recent shift in the way social media allows information to be gathered and content disseminated.

So even now, even at the NYT, it’s not enough to just know about social media, the tricks of when to tweet and the tools to make it easier to post to Facebook. Nowadays you have to be able to teach too, to justify the tools you are advocating and explain when might be best to use this app or that site. And if you really want that journalist to use social going forward, you need to apply it to that person’s day-to-day schedule and subject area in a way that makes them say ‘Ok, I understand and I can see how it would help’. (NB By ‘teach’ I mean in the way we are taught to ride a bike (by doing it, being told by someone we trust), not in the academic sense (in theoretical terms, by a tutor).

So, as well as the knowledge of platforms, Sasha Koren (deputy editor of Interactive News, to whom all job applications go to) will be looking for a person who can go into a mature newsroom, be capable and feel comfortable of explaining something that comes very easy to them in a way that is accessible to journalists more experienced than them. That sounds easy but, having experienced it myself, it’s not always (although it is incredibly rewarding when it comes off).

So, if you think you’d like to work in social media, think as much about how you explain, not just what you explain. Judging by the NYT job ad, newsroom educator is a role journalists with a knowledge of social media will increasingly be asked to fulfil.