It's important to sometimes do some hard-headed analysis and figure out if, amid the buzz and excitement, the cost
We were very fortunate (in large part thanks to Columbia U's @sree, a longtime colleague and friend) to have Eason Jordan, head of Now This News, Jonathan Perelman of Buzzfeed and Zach Seward of Quartz -- who did abashedly note he is really an editorial, not business guy, but had a great managerial and operational view, as did all the panelists.
What jumped out to me as a common theme was that these new news organizations (two of which -- NTN and Quartz -- launched last fall) had social so imbued into their thinking and processes, that it was not even a question of whether they could cost-justify social media, but rather that if they didn't succeed in social, they would not be a success. These three, at least, get it -- get that they are not homepage-first media, that people discover and consume media (or "content" if you prefer) when, where and how they want: on whatever screens, through whatever feeds, via whatever social or other mechanisms make the most sense to them. That for all their communities, a recommendation or referral from a friend or connection is often what makes it valuable enough to look at, and share further. Jonathan even shared a graphic (we can ask if it's ok to publish it) of how much virality they can measure on a piece, how much added traffic social sharing can get them beyond any publishing they do.
I've peppered the below with comments and observations that I hope elucidate the Tweets. Reading them, you'll get a good sense of what was covered.