Facebook: The New Rolodex for Journalists

By Mona Zhang Comment

Our sister site SocialTimes recently spoke to Vadim Lavrusik, manager of Facebook’s journalism program. Lavrusik talked about why Facebook is the Rolodex of today’s journalists and how they can use the social network to report. Some of the takeaways:



Finding Sources
For finding people, journalists can type in phrases like ”College students in New York, NY” and “People who work at Facebook and like the New York Times“ to target a group of people if they don’t have a specific person in mind. From there, examining a person’s profile information such as a friends list or relationship status can be a starting point for verifying his or her identity…

Discovering Content
Facebook is also a good source of eye-witness videos and photos that journalists can discover and request to use in their stories, said Lavrusik. For example, a search for “photos taken in Breezy Point” conjures more 1,000 images of the New York City neighborhood that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012…

Connecting with Readers
Because friendships on Facebook are built on personal connections with other people in the real world, journalists might not be as willing to devote their personal accounts to their jobs. In December 2012, Facebook adopted Twitter’s convention of giving users the option to let others “follow” them without sending a friend request, which keeps friends and readers on separate tracks…

The Future of Facebook as a Storytelling Platform
With a longer character limit than Twitter (around 60,000 characters compared to Twitter’s 140), Facebook stories can unfold in real-time through text, images, and videos on the Page or serve as a preview for a longer article on a news website. Stories told on Facebook benefit also from community dialogue through comments, likes, and shares, Lavrusik said…

For the full post and more insights on how journos can use Facebook, head over to SocialTimes. And we want to know: Has Facebook helped you with your reporting?