Facebook Journalism Project: A Complete Guide

Facebook’s efforts to bolster its relationships with media and news organizations and journalists continued with Wednesday’s introduction of the Facebook Journalism Project.

Facebook’s efforts to bolster its relationships with media and news organizations and journalists continued with Wednesday’s introduction of the Facebook Journalism Project.

Director of product Fidji Simo introduced Facebook Journalism Project in a Newsroom post, saying that the initiative has three objectives: collaborative development of news products for the social network, training and tools for journalists and training and tools for users.

Simo introduced Facebook Journalism Project as follows:

Facebook is a new kind of platform, and we want to do our part to enable people to have meaningful conversations, to be informed and to be connected to each other. We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive.

That’s why today we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.

Simo wrote that collaborative development of news products will include new storytelling formats, a greater emphasis on local news and emerging business models, and the social network will host hackathons and regular meetings with publishing partners. Highlights follow:

While we’ve worked with our news partners on this in the past, as part of the Facebook Journalism Project we’ll begin an even deeper collaboration with news organizations across the spectrum, connecting our product and engineering teams so that we can build together from the early stages of the product development process.

We want to work with partners to evolve our current formats—Facebook Live, 360 video, Instant Articles, etc.—to better suit their needs and work with them on building entirely new ones. For example, we’ve heard from editors that they want to be able to present packages of stories to their most engaged readers on Facebook. We’re starting to work with several partners on how best to do this. We’re going to start testing this using Instant Articles, so that readers can start to see multiple stories at a time from their favorite news organizations. This is a very early test, and we will continue to work with partners on how to make this product great for them.

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We’re interested in exploring what we can build together with our partners to support local news and promote independent media. This initiative is in its earliest stages; we want to talk about it now so that we can get as much input from newsrooms and journalists as possible, working together to shape what local news on Facebook could look like.

Many of our partners have placed a renewed emphasis on growing their subscription funnel, and we’ve already begun exploring ways we can support these efforts. This month, our engineering team, in collaboration with the engineering team of German news organization Bild, will launch a test to explore offering free trials to engaged readers, right from within Instant Articles. This is the kind of work we want to do more of. We’ll also keep working on monetization options for partners, such as expanding our live ad break test to a wider group of partners and exploring ad breaks in regular videos.

We’ll be launching a program globally where Facebook engineers will host sessions with developers from news organizations to collaborate to identify opportunities and hack solutions.

We meet regularly with our media and publishing partners, and as part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we’ll make an even more concerted effort to do so, with new rounds of meetings with publishers in the U.S. and Europe as a start in the months ahead. We’ll expand that listening tour around the world over the course of the year. We’ll host many of our global partners at F8, Facebook’s annual conference in the Bay area, and we’ll keep sponsoring important journalism and publishing conferences, including the Digital Content Next conference in January and the Perugia Festival of Journalism this spring.

On the subject of multiple Instant Articles, product manager Josh Roberts offered more details in a Facebook Media blog post:

Starting Jan. 12, we will begin to test a way for publishers to combine multiple Instant Articles into one post.