Journalists everywhere are beginning to understand not only the reach of social media but also its potential as a newsroom. The rise of social media has allowed journalists to begin sourcing for news and discussing a different way of using alternate tools.
News-gathering and news consumption have become more social… and so has the medium. Social media journalism, or journalism through social media, is no longer a new concept; it is simply journalism in 140 characters.
Understanding the role social media plays in journalism today, Facebook unveiled a new Facebook Page and ‘Meetup program’ for journalists. The Page, Journalists on Facebook, is intended as a resource for journalists who wish to incorporate social media into their reporting, networking and storytelling.
“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,” Facebook’s Director of Media Partnerships, Justin Osofsky, wrote in a blog post.
Alongside the new Page, the social network will also be launching a “Facebook Journalism Meetup” program with workshops on how to use Facebook as a reporting tool.
“We’ll be hosting events around the globe to have hands-on workshops on how to use Facebook as a reporting tool, and engage in an open dialogue with the journalism community. Our first Meetup will be held on April 27th at our headquarters in Palo Alto, California,” said Osofsky.
Facebook has been working with journalists since early 2010 to help make their content more social. According to Osofsky, the average media organisation has seen referral traffic from Facebook soar over 300 percent since then.
“Since its inception, people have been sharing news with friends and it’s no surprise that reporters, from college level to international outlets, have also been using Facebook for years. More recently, we’ve see some great examples for how Facebook can be used as a reporting tool,” added Osofsky, emphasizing the social network is a viable news resource by mentioning the National Public Radio, the New York Times and the Washington’s Post’s use of Facebook in their reporting.
In recent years, social media has become a key tool in a journalist’s arsenal. The revolution in Egypt saw Twitter become a collaborative tool for most media outlets. Readers expressed their views, journalists updated their readers, and citizens tweeted their eyewitness accounts of events.
Users are currently sharing content with their peers using various social media tools and it seems Facebook wishes to build on that. Social media is creating a virtual newsroom where every journalist is a part of it, and so are their readers. Everyone creates and shares content; news has become more about conversation than just reporting.
Social media has redefined the role of journalism. Journalists are no longer the ubiquitous source of information, delivering to the masses what the masses must know. Now a journalist needs to be part of the audience and listen to the conversations they are having. Twitter is not just a place for celebrity gossip or the latest in Beibermania; it’s a worthy news source. YouTube is not just a platform for vanity videos but a place for eye-witness accounts of war, protest and change.
The world of journalism is changing, but this we know. Is this new face of journalism working for our benefit? Social media is where today’s agenda is being set, and topics discussed on Facebook Pages or trending on Twitter are where the day’s news emerges.
Social journalism and the virtual newsroom bring something different to journalism; they allow the audience to be part of the news process. Which could be good depending on the latest topic trending on Twitter, or bad depending on which YouTube video goes viral.