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Below is a list of resources to help integrate Facebook into your journalism studies and practices. From reading materials to outlines of specific products and examples of their uses by journalists, the below information can help you get started in structuring your journalistic practices on Facebook. We’ve also included some suggested exercises that may help you gain experience in using the tools. We encourage you to use this Group as a place to share other resources that you have come across in integrating Facebook into your journalistic practices at your university. Whether it is marketing your media publication through Facebook or integrating Facebook into the journalistic process itself, share what has worked for you and what didn’t with other student journalists. The content will help journalists use Facebook to do five things: ● find new story ideas, track trends and sources ● publish real-time news updates and community engagement ● connect with readers and viewers in new ways ● bring attention and traffic to their work ● create, craft and enhance their personal brand You will learn best practices as well as what to avoid in this fast-changing, real-time social news world. Many journalists already use these tools for personal reasons, but the materials and examples will take that knowledge to new levels with practical, actionable lessons in how best to navigate Facebook in strategic ways.
I. Searching for Sources & Stories: Facebook.com/search
1. Open Search: Use Facebook Search to find public “posts by everyone” that are relevant to a news story you are covering. Use key words from your story to filter results. You can use “word here” for exact phrase searches. Remember, people have ownership to the
3. 4. 5.
photos that they post. Get permission before using something a user posted, public or not. People Search: The people search enables you to find sources that you’re looking to contact on Facebook. You can filter by location, education and workplace. If you find someone who you may want to use as a source, you can go to their profile and message them privately through Facebook Messages without being their friend. Facebook Groups: You can also search Facebook Groups to find sources affiliated with specific organizations or groups (this can be useful for political organizations, local organizations, etc.). Events: The Events search enables you to search through open Events being posted by people or organizations. If you’re covering an event, you can usually find the event organizers based on who created the event on Facebook. Pages: Similarly to Groups, Pages are often used for organizational and distribution purposes and can garner useful information around an organization or event. You can search for Pages by keywords.
II. Messaging (Messages, Chat, Video Calling): Use Facebook messages tools to contact and interview sources on the platform. 1. Messages: Using your Profile, journalists are able to privately message sources they’d like to interview for a story without having to be friends by going to their profile and clicking the “message” button. Many sources will have their settings setup to also get an e-mail notification that you’ve messaged them on Facebook or their mobile device depending on their settings. Just like contacting a source by calling them or e-mailing them, it’s important to be transparent by identifying yourself as a reporter. 2. Chat: If a journalist connects with a source using their Profile, they are able to use the Chat tool to interview them. Group Chat can also be effective tool for organizing multiple journalists working together on the same story as a form of communicating and staying organized with one another. 3. Video Calling: If a journalist is connected to a source, they can use their Profile to Video Call a source for an interview. To setup Video Calling on your account, visit the Video Calling Page and the Help Resources page on Video Calling. Before you can call your sources, you need to complete a quick, one-time setup: ● You will be asked to complete the setup the first time you try to call a source you’re connect to, or the first time a source tries to call you. To call a source, click the video icon at the top of your chat window. ● Simply click the “Set Up” button and follow the instructions for how to set up video calling on your browser. ● Once you’ve successfully completed the setup, the call you’ve started with your connected source should connect automatically. If it doesn’t, you can call again by clicking the video icon at the top of your chat window. III. Pages and Profiles: Use Pages and Profiles effectively for reporting and storytelling 1. Distribution: Share stories to grow your distribution. 2. Breaking News: Use Pages during breaking news events. Make sure you have your Profile or Page synced to a mobile device for easy posting. 3. Storytelling: “A good story is a good story on Facebook.” 4. Personal vs. Professional: Use Pages to create a professional presence unique from your personal Profile on Facebook. 5. Building your journalistic brand: Use your public Page to showcase expertise.
6. Multimedia: Take advantage of photos and videos. 7. Crowdsourcing: UsePages and Profiles to get users to submit photos, stories, tips, etc. either by opening up the Wall or using custom contact form tabs. 8. Engagement: What works and what doesn’t in terms of cultivating an engaged community on Facebook? (Questions, content that works, etc.) 9. Creating a custom Page News Feed & Profile Lists: Based on other Pages you like with your Page, you will see that content in your Page News Feed when you’re logged in as the Page. Or using your Profiles’ Lists feature to put sources into specific lists for sharing and keeping track. 10. Mobile: Because a lot of posting happens via mobile, it’s important to hook your Page or Profile up to your mobile device for easy posting while reporting from the field. 11. Applications: To create a custom experience on a Page, you can add custom tabs to create a unique experience. 12. Facebook Insights: Insights is the analytics tool for Pages, which enables you to learn about the activity taking place on your Page and about the users who are connected to the Page. nsights helps you better understand who your readers are. Gain insights into the most popular content and see what is and isn’t performing as well. With Facebook Insights, you can monitor key performance indicators, view customer demographics and interactions, test product changes, and optimize key drivers of growth. For example, you can view how active your fans are and receive feedback on the content you post. These analytics can be accessed through our online dash-boards, as well as programmatically through our API. IV. Profile (friend) vs Page (like) vs Group (member/join) 1. Profile: Personal profiles are accounts for authentic identity. However, it’s important for journalists to still verify who they are talking to. “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” This especially applies to potential sources you contact on Facebook. 2. Page: To connect to a Page, users will “like” the Page and receive updates from the Page directly in their News Feeds. Journalists can create Pages to build a professional and public presence on Facebook and push out information to interested Users. Profiles can be used in tandem with this for personal connections. 3. Groups: Groups provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests. Groups can be created by anyone and can be a great tool for internal communication among journalists working on a project or beat together. Use Group Chat for live discussions, use the Documents tool to share resources, and post information to the Group Wall. Some news organizations have used Groups to build a presence on Facebook, while most have used them for focus groups, feedback, building a community of sources, and more. To add members to a Group, the admin has to either be friends with the user they are inviting or send the user a link and have them request to join the Group. 4. Other differences a. Pages i.Privacy: Page information and posts are public and generally available to everyone on Facebook. ii.Audience: Anyone can like a Page to become connected and receive News Feed updates. There is no limit to how many people can like a Page. iii.Communication: Page admins can share posts under the Page’s name. Page posts appear in the News Feed of people who like the Page. Page admins can also create customized tabs for their Pages and check Page Insights to track the Page’s growth and activity. b. Groups
i.Privacy: In addition to an open setting, more privacy settings are available for groups. In secret and closed groups, posts are only visible to group members. ii.Audience: Group members must be approved or added by other members. When a group reaches a certain size, some features are limited. The most useful groups tend to be the ones you create with small groups of people you know. iii.Communication: In groups, members receive notifications by default when any member posts in the group. Group members can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on group docs, and invite all members to group-specific events. V. Best Practices for Publishing & Distributing: If content is king, then distribution is queen. If your content isn’t being distributed to an audience, then who is being informed? 1. Inclusion of Questions and Calls to Action: While posts that included a question only accounted for 10% of the posts sampled on Journalist Pages, posts with questions received 2x more comments and 64% more feedback overall than an average post. a. Posts that asked questions or sought user input: +64% b. Call to read or take a closer look: +37% c. Personal reflections or behind-the-scenes posts: +25% d. Posts with catchy/clever language or tone: +18% 2. Post length: On average, meaty posts from journalists get more feedback via comments and likes. Analysis shows that 4-line postings receive a 30% increase in feedback over average posts and 5-line postings show a 60% increase in feedback over average posts. However, 1-line posts show the greatest fluctuation, receiving the highest maximum feedback observed, at 15x higher than the average post. 5-line posts were a close second, showing a maximum of around 10x the average post. For journalists posting teasers, links or status updates on their Pages, this means both short and long posts can yield positive results, but meatier posts on average generate more feedback overall. 3. Photos: Readers respond well to photos on Journalist Pages. Though uploaded Photos accounted for only 10% of the posts to Journalist Pages, they received 50% more likes than non-photo posts. 4. Links with Thumbnail Images: Links that include an image thumbnail in the link preview recive more engagement on average. Journalists who shared links that included a thumbnail image in the link preview on their Page Wall saw a 65% increase in likes and 50% increase in comments on those posts. 5. Engagement by Story Type: Posts about education, politics and behind-the-scenes insights & analysis from journalists received a higher amount of feedback on average. Education posts got 2x more likes, politics received both 1.7x more likes and 1.6x more comments, and a journalist sharing their thoughts had 1.4x more likes. 6. Referral Clicks & Story Type: International news stories had 70% more referral clicks than that of an average post (ex. “For 60 years, Pakistan’s military has focused obsessively on its rivalry with India. Large elements within that military appear to be switching obsessions...” - Fareed Zakaria, CNN). Stories about politics received 60% more referral clicks (ex. “I’m sitting down with President Obama tomorrow for an exclusive interview – click below and tell me what you think I should ask.” – George Stephanopoulos, ABC). Posts that included the journalist’s analysis or personal reflections received 20% more referral clicks than an average post (ex. “For all of you
high school students accepted into college – congratulations, but think about deferring for a year and taking a ‘gap year’ – I did…” - Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times). 7. Daily Feedback and Referral Clicks: Journalists received the highest amount of feedback later in the week. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday had the highest amount of feedback -- with Sunday receiving the highest amount of feedback at 25% more likes and 8% more comments above average. Referral clicks were above average Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday—with links getting 85% more clicks on Saturday and 37% more on Wednesday than an average post. 8. Hourly Feedback: Readers are active throughout the entire day. Feedback spikes occurred on Journalist Pages at the start of the day (7am/8am showing a 30-40% increase); late in the morning (10am ET received 40% increase in feedback); later in the workday (4pm/5pm ET showing 40% and 100% increases); and on into the evening hours (12am ET getting 30% increase and 2am ET getting 20% increase).
Pages & Profile Examples:
Distribution: Many news organizations and journalists with Facebook Pages or Profiles use
their presence to distribute content. This, of course, not only enables readers to engage with the content on Facebook, but it also drives traffic back to your university paper’s site. (The average news site saw Facebook referrals increase by more than 300 percent since the beginning of 2010.
By distributing content, reporters are able to showcase the journalism they produce to the public beyond their friends. For the members of that public, the ability to get content directly from journalists creates a richer news consumption experience. It’s no longer just about the story
being shared, but about what the group sharing it has to say about it. So when you “like” The Daily Tar Heel, it’s likely because you’re interested not just in the news it delivers — but in the way that newspaper delivers it. Pages can target their distribution by location or even language. For example, this means you are able to post something that will only be seen in the News Feeds of those in New York City (specific city) who speak Spanish (specific language).
Breaking News: The News Feed gives users flexibility to adjust their options and filter based on what they want to see. The two prominent options are “Top Stories” and “Most Recent.” “Most Recent,” in particular, enables users to see content being posted in real-time. This enables journalists and news organizations to keep readers updated as news breaks. In April, for example, after the St. Louis Airport was hit with a tornado, KMOV, the local TV station, kicked up the frequency of its updates to real-time. It used its Page to post warnings to readers, photos and videos of damage, and solicitations for content and updates from readers. Journalists posting to the TV station’s Page would status tag their own journalist pages so that readers would know who was posting the reports, adding a layer of transparency and accountability — and enabling readers to connect with them. Pages can also serve as a great source for news tips where members of your local community can post tips directly to your Wall. The Indiana Daily Student, for example, received a tip from an eyewitness to the outcome of a hostage situation that had just taken place in the community.
They were then able to follow up with police to confirm and post the latest updates.
Journalists should be ready for breaking news situations, and have their Profile or Page synced to a mobile device for easy posting on-the-go (see Mobile for details below). Storytelling: Great journalism deserves to be showcased. From short updates on-the-go, to videos, photo albums, or a more in-depth pieces using the Notes feature, Profiles and Pages enable journalists to produce and showcase various types of content for readers. Media outlets such as Penn State’s The Daily Collegian often highlight the stories of PSU alumni. These profiles make for great news stories that they then push out on their Page. Those updates spread to the News Feeds of the 5,700 people who “like” their page. The content is social and
spreads throughout friend networks reaching a wider audience.
Nick Kristof from the New York Times has tips for journalists using Pages in their reporting: 1. Focus on storytelling. A good story is a good story on Facebook. 2. Use the wisdom of the crowd in your reporting. It works. 3. Ask questions and invite people to join the conversation. 4. Share the behind-the-scenes process of your reporting (judiciously). Personal vs. Professional: Facebook Pages enable journalists to have a professional presence on Facebook, giving readers a chance to connect with their professional journalistic identity instead of having only the option to be their friends. That can be especially useful when it comes to a journalist’s relationship with their sources. If sources want to connect with a journalist on the Facebook platform, Pages provide an option in which journalists don’t have to worry (as much) about the content of their personal profiles, or, for example, the ethical implications of accepting a source’s friend request. (It’s also worth noting that many sources probably feel uncomfortable “friending” a journalist.) Now, when someone searches for a journalist’s name, they will see the Page as an option to connect. Another bonus: While Profiles have a 5,000 “friend” limit, Pages have no limit. Building your journalistic brand: As journalists, even student journalists, we often squirm at phrases like “personal branding.” But the reality is that social media, and the social web in general, have created a shift from the institutional news brand to journalists’ personal brands.
Prior to the web, the journalistic personal brand was mostly limited to columnists and the TV anchors who enjoyed lots of face time. The rest of us were shrouded in mystery behind our bylines. As a result of the proliferation of personal blogs and social profiles—not to mention web search—readers can now find information about a journalist instantly. In turn, journalists have a bigger platform than ever before to interact with their readers, one that allows us more freedom with tone and voice. The bigger platform, of course, has not been limited to journalists alone, which has resulted in many more voices and more noise. That makes a journalist’s personal brand even more important. If you write it, they will not necessarily come, but a strong personal page will let those who want your content know where to always find it reliably. Showcasing multimedia: With more than 100 million photos uploaded daily, Facebook is the web’s most popular photo-sharing site. And the popularity of video on the site continues to grow. As such, it’s a great platform for photojournalists and video graphers to showcase their work. The Ohio Lantern sorts all of their choice photos into well-organized photo albums so that readers can find the exact content they’re looking for, whether it be the slam dunk or the standing ovation. Many newspapers such as The Harvard Crimson also incorporate exclusive video interviews on their Facebook page, bringing their stories to life.
Community-sourced content: The more people who participate in the journalism process, the better informed we are as a result. This is something that Jay Rosen recently emphasized in his reflection after 25 years of teaching journalism, and echoed by Mathew Ingram of GigaOM. Use your page to community-source photos and videos to enhance coverage. Users can submit photos and videos by uploading them directly to the page wall or by uploading through a custom tab. With appropriate permissions, these can then be used in print or online distribution. Texas A&M’s The Battalion often uses its Facebook Page to solicit questions from readers for upcoming stories and gauge popular opinion.
Cultivating an active and engaged community
Because Facebook Page owners can be logged in as the page itself, it gives them a customized experience and enables them to engage as their Page and not their personal profile. You receive notifications when readers engage on your Page; take advantage and respond! Though using Pages can be a great tool in building an audience that helps you in your reporting, it also enables journalists to cultivate an active community of readers. The conversation around a story is just as important as the story itself. It usually enhances the story and better informs its readers. So what works? We've found the following types of stories get more engagement: 1.Touching, emotional stories (ex. "Fireman adopts girl orphaned in house fire..."): 2-3x expected increase in engagement above average post. 2.Provocative, passionate debates (ex. "A proposed new law denies citizenship to children of illegal immigrants..."): 2-3x expected increase in engagement above average post. 3.Sports game, important wins (ex. "The Chicago Blackhawks Win First Cup in 49 Years..."): 1.5-2x expected increase in engagement above average post. 4.Simple, easy questions to the user (ex. "Will you watch the World Cup): 1.5x expected increase in engagement above average post.
A lot of news reporting happens on-the-go, with production taking place not on a computer, but on a mobile
phone. Pages can be synced with your mobile device, so it’s easy to post to your Page by using the mobile site or the iPhone application. You can also post photos via e-mail or status updates through text messages by texting “f” to 32665. After the Page is linked with your mobile number, you can send status updates to 32665, and those will post to your Wall.
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