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Vivian Schiller Is Lead Candidate for Twitter’s Head of News Position

According to sources close to the situation, NBC News chief digital officer Vivian Schiller is currently the leading choice for Twitter’s Head of News position, which the company hopes to name soon.

As AllThingsD previously reported, Twitter has been looking for an experienced newsperson to lead the company’s efforts in the news media space since earlier this year. That person would report to Twitter’s head of media Chloe Sladden, who also oversees Twitter’s TV, sports, music and politics verticals.

With the eventual appointment, Twitter aims to both legitimize itself as a serious news distribution tool, while also courting and cooperating with other longstanding news institutions.

Twitter’s ideal candidate is a sort of “elder statesman or woman” type, a seasoned news veteran that has both been around the news room and commands respect from the industry.

Schiller fits that profile. Before her current position at NBC Digital, she held senior positions at CNN, Discovery, NPR and the New York Times.

Other candidates for the position include Jim Roberts, formerly of the New York Times and most recently Reuters, as well as Emily Bell, the director of Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School.

Spokespersons from both Twitter and NBC declined to comment.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald