On Tuesday, in a note published to the newly minted “Journalists on Facebook” Page, Facebook announced a new venture targeting journalists interested in learning how to best use Facebook as a reporting tool. According to the note, “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.”
The page differs from the already existent “Facebook + Media” Page,” which is more generally geared towards helping all kinds of media organizations – from online news outlets to TV channels – optimize their Facebook usage. Instead, the “Journalists on Facebook” Page strives to encourage journalists to employ Facebook as a legitimate reporting tool, citing NPR’s social sourcing work as just one of the recent successes of “social journalism.”
As GigaOm points out, Twitter has been hard at work for some time on helping journalists use their platform for both reporting and sharing news stories, so Facebook has some catch up work to do. But the page is a good start, and the statistics certainly support this new venture: according to the Page announcement note, average media organizations have seen a 300% increase in referral traffic from Facebook since the beginning of 2010. And for journalists still parsing the social networking world and how its practices can be integrated with their established reporting methods, the page will certainly be a big help. It’s already outfitted with helpful Best Practices, video interviews between Facebook and established journalists, and links to outside articles about Facebook reporting.
In addition to its online resources, Facebook will also be running global meetups for journalists that will afford attendees the opportunity to take “workshops on how to use Facebook as a reporting tool, and engage in an open dialogue with the journalism community.” The first meetup will be held at the Facebook Palo Alto office on April 27th; those interested in attending can register here.