WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Thu - 24.07.2014


Journalists on Facebook: how to make the best use of social media

Journalists on Facebook: how to make the best use of social media

Reflecting the fact that Facebook is becoming an increasingly essential tool for news organisations, Facebook has launched a new page specifically for journalist: Journalists on Facebook.

The aim of the page - announced a note - is to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories. "Since we first launched these initiatives at the beginning of 2010," it claimed, "the average media organization has seen a greater than 300% increase in referral traffic from Facebook."

"The Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people", it announced.

The page has, at the time of writing, 18,178 people liking it (and it was launched just two days ago, Tuesday April 5).

This is not the first initiative Facebook has carried out especially for media people: last fall it launched Facebook for Media, but that page is more geared towards the organization while this new page is all about the individual, Journalistics reported.

There are many examples of how Facebook could be a useful reporting tool, Facebook's note underlined: how NPR make the best of it with its 1.4 million fans, New York Times' Nicholas Kristof's reporting from Il Cairo and the recent Washington Post story that Ian Shapira wrote using Facebook.

For those worried about privacy settings or for people working with journalists in dangerous environments, the Committee to Protect Journalists - CPJ- recommends Movements.org's new Guide to Facebook Security.

It is Facebook the largest news organization ever? This is what Joshua Gans, economics professor at Melbourne Business School and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research, says. Facebook - he claims - is not some toy, it is a fully fledged news organization on a scale we have never seen and it is what became of the "hyper-local" notion. It just turned out that that wasn't a geographic neighbourhood but a socially connected one.

However, what Facebook is realizing now - that it is a perfect tool for journalists - is not so new, Gigaom's Mathew Ingram underlined, as Twitter seems to have realized relatively early. "The smaller of the two social-media tools (even if how smaller is still a matter of debate) has become virtually synonymous with journalism thanks in part to the fact that it is more of an information network than a social network", he wrote. And it has had a media page that shares best practices since last year.

"The challenge for Facebook is that while Twitter seems perfectly designed to be a real-time news and information network, many users still likely think of Facebook as a place to socialize rather than be informed - a place to play games, or look at funny pictures and videos, but not necessarily a place where journalists are active. Those things may not be mutually exclusive, but it's going to take some work to make them feel like they belong together," Ingram concluded.

Is there enough space out there for both?

Sources: Facebook (1), (2), Journalistics, The Conversation - HBR, Gigaom, CPJ


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Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-04-07 13:46

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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