Should Journalists Use Facebook as a Journalism Tool?

Facebook journalismAs Clay pointed out in his last post about social journalism, more journalists are using Facebook as a journalism tool. So, should journalists be focusing so much attention on something that is not their own media organization?

Scott Rosenberg, writer, editor and co-founder and managing editor of Salon, brought this question up on his blog after watching a panel of journalists talk about their tips for using Facebook.

Everything that journalists are doing on Facebook today — engaging readers in conversation, soliciting sources, polling users, posting “behind the story” material — is stuff they could just as easily do on their own websites. So why are they doing it on Facebook?

Why Facebook?

Media sites currently have low numbers of people interacting on their sites, or the conversations in comments are negative and don’t contribute much value. That’s one reason journalists use Facebook: to get more interaction. And it’s working for many media organizations.

Another reason is traffic. While Google still sends the most traffic to news sites, Facebook is growing in importance.

In a recent study, Facebook ranked as the second or third most popular driver to content for five of the news websites studied.

Many journalists also use Facebook for a variety of other reasons, such as the following:

  • breaking news
  • finding sources, crowd-sourcing topics or ideas
  • sharing behind-the-scenes content
  • creating community

Why Not Facebook?

Well, Facebook is a private company and that complicates things.

As Rosenberg points out, the site could sell stock to the public before long. Right now, it’s an open public platform, but this may not be the case forever.

There are plenty of people waiting to cash in on Facebook’s success, and more in the wings, and they will expect the company to fulfill its inevitable destiny — and “monetize” the hell out of all the relationship-building we’re doing on its pages, Rosenberg said.

Facebook is clearly already trying to monetize with ads and it’s new deal service.

Kate Gardiner of Poynter wrote about two potential things that could go wrong for publishers on Facebook.

  1. What if all of your demographic data got leaked to your competitors or to the public at large?
  2. What if Facebook makes you pay for the buttons or the sharing or the Insights — indeed, for access to the audience you’ve built. And that you’re now dependent on?
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Perhaps that’s the key. Not becoming too dependent on Facebook. Instead, using it while also looking for ways to improve the engagement capabilities of your own news site.

On the other hand, Johnathan Stray, writing for the Neiman Journalism Lab, predicts that being multi-platform is part of the future for journalism.

He also says that news orgs need to serve the consumer’s information needs. Since the customers are on Facebook and Facebook is easily accessible from any device, journalists should be on there too.

Do you think journalists should spend more time improving their websites than using Facebook? Is Facebook improving journalism?

2 Responses to Should Journalists Use Facebook as a Journalism Tool?
  1. [...] Fonte: Sustainable Journalism [...]

  2. [...] | Center for Sustainable Journalism Archivado en Periodismo Ciudadano, Periodismo Digital a las 21:51 Tags: Facebook, medios [...]

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