Facebook: a journalism platform

4 Apr

Honestly, I think the people that utilize Facebook the most for its journalistic possibilities are its everyday users. In the five years I’ve had a Facebook account, I’ve rarely had to go to news websites to find out that people like Whitney Houston or Joe Paterno died, or that Tim Tebow got traded to the New York Jets. Sometimes, though, people constantly updating their status like this frustrates me because many of the statuses are the same.

However, many newspapers now have their own Facebook pages, and even morning talk shows like “Good Morning America” have their own videos and pictures that users can comment on. This is one of the great things about Facebook: It allows for discussion. Because of this capability, journalists should definitely take more advantage of it. Take, for example, CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour. She and other journalists have their own Facebook pages so that people can keep up to date on their stories, and reporters can then include even more elements of their stories onto the pages. In fact, Facebook even has its own page specifically telling journalists how they can use this website efficiently.

However, using social networks for news does have its ethical issues. In my Writing for Mass Communication and Reporting classes, we were told that it was never okay to use a Facebook friend as a source for a story, and I still believe this is true. I do think that finding sources through Facebook friends is not a bad idea if it is a person you truly do not know. Facebook is full of friendly users willing to help people out.

Journalists should definitely keep their opinions to themselves, even when social media allows us to express our thoughts on pretty much any issue.

I have used Facebook extensively to promote my blog. Each week when I post an entry, I write a one-sentence summary about it, along with the attached link, and people end up reading it. It has helped me out a lot with readership.

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