Home > future of journalism, journalism industry, social media > Facebook for Journalists – A New Frontier to Distribute News?

Facebook for Journalists – A New Frontier to Distribute News?

I saw this point from Inside Facebook about Facebook for Journalists: More Work Than Twitter but with a Bigger Payout today and commented on the blog post itself, but thought it was worth a mention on my own blog.

Inside Facebook’s lede mentioned the new Facebook page Journalists on Facebook. According to the post, Facebook created the community

In an effort to encourage the news community to use the site’s Page feature as a distribution and research tool.

Which is great. Journalists need a reason to use Facebook. More of our prospective users are on Facebook than on Twitter and, yet, most news organizations I’ve been in contact with seem to do much better on Twitter in terms of interaction, page views and clicked links. But the Journalists on Facebook page is currently not very helpful in spreading Facebook’s message. Currently, wall posts consist of mostly first-time journalists sharing self-promotional information (such as pages or blogs) and very little exchange of information or ideas on HOW to use Facebook in a reporting mechanism.

The most interesting thing on the page is a poll that Facebook itself put up asking “What do you hope to gain from the ‘Journalists on Facebook’ page?

Seven of the eight most-chosen responses on the poll indicate that journalists gladly say that they don’t have a clue and are hoping that Facebook, though its Journalists on Facebook page, will help to bridge the gap between the news content they have and the more personal content that people on Facebook seem to consume. Most people don’t use their Facebook as a way to get mainstream news – they use it as a way of getting a highly curated stream of entertainment from people that they a) usually know in real life and b) share certain personal characteristics with (such as location, education or workplace/industry).

So what are the secrets to cracking Facebook? Curated news feeds that are targeted to specific regions, industries and highly specialized interests. The Ledger does decently on Facebook, but Voices of the Gulf (a NYTRMG joint project that was started to share coverage about the Deep Horizon oil spill) does even better because it targets a specific population that either lives and works nearby the oil spill or  has passionate interests in the environmental aspects thereof.

I was planning on getting into the differences between Twitter and Facebook in terms of news distribution and dissemination but this post has already become longer than I planned. I’ll save it for later in the week but I’ll give you a preview: Twitter is better for news than Facebook, it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future and I will tell you why.

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