Journalism and Facebook are more closely entwined than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 State of the Media report, which used a sample of 5173 respondents, 47% of US adult Facebook users receive news via this social networking medium. That is the statistical equivalent of 30% of the US population. Trends in news topic popularity were seen in the survey, as 73% of Facebook news consumers regularly saw entertainment news. Although the news reading occurring on Facebook is deemed ‘common but incidental’ by the survey, there is a clear infiltration of news shifting over to a site originally designed for social networking.
Although entertainment appears to be the most popular form of news consumed on Facebook, local and international news organisations are shifting their activities onto this social platform. In 2011, a community news site based in Washington D.C. called The Rockville Central relocated all its news projects to Facebook. This is one bold example of how Facebook has affected news companies, as well as the work of journalists.
Event reporting in journalism has also undergone dramatic change due to Facebook. This is evident in journalists utilising the social platform to report on the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. Using Facebook, journalists from Al Jazeera English were able to track upcoming events, like planned protests, and find sources who would talk on air.
Facebook has also held the same amount of influence over the Washington Post (WP). “Facebook has dramatically transformed the way journalists do their jobs,” said Ian Shapira, staff writer at the WP. Working together with his editor, Shapira decided to produce one story as Facebook status updates. He believed the death of Shana Greatman Swers was best told through her personal narrative of status updates, extending beyond the capabilities of a print piece. It is easy to conclude that Facebook has held a prominent influence over an array of facets in news and journalism, and will continue to do so.
Image taken from: http://journal.innovationjournalism.org/2011_05_01_archive.html