5 Ways Journalists Can Use Facebook’s Interest Lists

Facebook just rolled out a new feature called Interest Lists that lets users organize what they care about into, well, lists.

Or, as the company said in its official announcement, Interest Lists “turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper, with special sections—or feeds—for topics that matter to you.”

One group of people using the service immediately is journalists. Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook’s journalist program manager, has even curated a list of “How Writers Are Using Interest Lists.” To search for other lists, visit the Add Interests page.

While it’s early days yet for Interest Lists, here are five possible ways journalists can use the new service.

List Your Staff
MashableCNNMoney, BuzzFeedNBC News, and others have already jumped on the bandwagon and created lists of their staff.

This is pretty easy way for any news organization or journalist to dip into using Interest Lists.

Cover a Specific Beat
After naming editorial staff, this is probably the second most common way journalists are using Interest Lists. It’s a simple way to compile things relating to your specific beat.

If you’re a meteorologist, for example, you could follow this “Weather News” list compiled by Sam Champion of Good Morning America. Another case study is Zach Behrens, who writes about the outdoors. He created lists of California’s state and national parks.

Compile a List of Experts
When you’re writing about a story, it’s always good to add in experts. With Interest Lists, you can have them all in one spot.

If you are writing about how the journalism industry is changing, why not contact a journalism professor? Robert Quigley, a lecturer at University of Texas-Austin, made such a list here.

If you type in “experts” into the Add List search feature, a whole bunch of lists come up that could be very useful when you’re searching for a good person to quote for a story. Or curate your own list of experts.

Engage With Your Readers
The Washington Post’s Katie Rogers is using lists to create some fun features, such as “Eat like the Obamas” or “Celebrity owned-restaurants in DC.”

This would be a great addition to an actual story in the paper. You could make a slideshow or write a story listing the restaurants in the paper or on a website and then direct your readers to the Facebook list. Ask them to suggest some restaurants owned by celebrities that you missed.

Track What Your Competitors Are Doing
If you write about the Olympics, you can follow the Olympics list to see what and how other news organizations are covering the sports event.

Azmat Khan has made a list of Afghanistan and Pakistan reporters. If you cover these areas, it’s one way to see what other news outlets are saying about these places. She may not have made the list with the specific idea of tracking how other reporters are covering the Middle East, but it could be used for that purpose.

This is different than just covering your beat because you are specifically curating a list that shows what your direct competitors are doing.  In one spot, you can see how they are covering the same thing you do. Much easier than doing a Google search.

Are you planning on using Interest Lists? Have you seen any good examples of how journalists are using the service?