Facebook and Journalists


I received the news of Osama bin Laden’s death on my phone. I was glancing over e-mails before wrapping up my evening, when I saw the breaking news alert. I didn’t open it. I went straight to my TV and watched history unfold as the President informed the nation. But, even as I watched it live, I was late for the event.

As has been ably reported, the news broke on Twitter well before the President’s address. Not only did the news break on Twitter, it set a new record of tweets per hour – over 12 million. Breaking news and developing news stories over social networks is something we are experiencing with increased frequency. From political unrest in the Middle East to damaging storms in the South, news is being made on and cultivated by social networks. And it’s not just the 140-character kind either.

In April, Facebook launched its Journalists on Facebook Page and hired Vadim Lavrusik as journalist program manager to head up the effort. Lavrusik comes to Facebook by way of Mashable. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has long been writing about, advocating for, and analyzing the growth of social journalism.

The “Journalists on Facebook” Page aims to give journalists a place to learn about integrating Facebook, and its many products, into their work – whether that’s finding sources and ways to connect with their audience online, crowd sourcing, setting up a branded page, breaking news, real-time reporting or sharing best practices. In addition to online, Facebook is hosting “Meet Ups” as part of its journalist outreach. The first one was last week in Palo Alto, Calif. You can view it here. Lavrusik gives a comprehensive overview of the program, and the panel discussion is worth a listen as well.

But what does this new focus by Facebook mean for B2B public relations folks and our clients?

More journalists with branded pages give us additional areas to engage. On top of our regular research and outreach, these pages can provide new opportunities to get to know journalists, gain insight into their interests and scope of coverage.

I check Facebook all the time and have started using it as more of a news aggregator than friend stalker. “Liking” specific journalists’ pages brings relevant content into your news feed, enabling you to stay up to date with extra coverage, conversations and breaking news. It also makes it easier to see recent stories, comment and ask questions in an interested community.

Same goes for clients. Just as we encourage them to comment on relevant blog posts and articles online, we can encourage clients to participate in conversations or answer questions connected with Facebook posts from journalists.

Journalists are sourcing more and more stories online as well. Does your client have a Facebook page where they share relevant, thought provoking and actionable content that fosters engagement? If not, they probably should, or at they should be should be exploring the idea.

The bottom line is there are always new ways to help our clients connect with the media. What does Facebook’s new journalist focus mean for you??


To reach Lindsey:

Email: lindsey@blisspr.com
Twitter: @lindseyschober
LinkedIn: Lindsey Schober