Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category


How Twitter is keeping tabs on the news

Twitter's news tab, unveiled last week, as seen on iOS. (Photo by the author.)

Twitter’s news tab, unveiled last week, as seen on its iOS platform. (Photo by the author.)

Last week, Twitter made available to some users in the United States a new feature called the News Tab.

This tab, available on the social network’s iOS and Android platforms, allows the user access to top headlines from varied sources. When a user taps an article to see more, they will see a headline, a brief paragraph and a link to that article. Below the article are top tweets from other sources.

According to a report from the L.A. Times, the feature is available in Japan, and it has been suggested that this could be a precursor to Project Lightning, a program for news and event curating that was announced in June, according to a report from Fortune. Indeed, beyond this, it has led to new engagement via the social network, which has shown benefits for audiences and Twitter itself.

“It’s a smart move for Twitter,” said Jennifer Wilson, the social media editor for the Toronto Star newspaper in Canada, in a telephone interview. “They are upping the potential for sharing.”

Wilson added that this allows Twitter to give context on information whilst staying true to messages in 140 characters.

“The news tab is interesting because instead of checking your morning newsletters, you have a one stop shop for news,” Wilson said. “It’s a different way to engage people on the network. They’re doing a lot of experiments and this is just another one where you see people logging in and coming back.”

The news of the introduction of the news tab comes amid continued concerns of user growth, announced in second quarter results July 28. The tab is not available internationally, but Wilson says should Twitter decide to make it available in Canada, there will be questions news organizations have to answer, from how to get tweets out there, to ensuring audiences are served not just within the tab but also in their news feeds. These questions are also likely of other organizations including in the US.

On the issue of growth, Wilson said this was a direct response to what Facebook was doing in terms of its Instant Articles program, and for Twitter’s part, there was no restrictions placed by the algorithm.

“They’re highlighting that news is an important part of the service they provide to users,” Wilson said. “It’s another way to make sure users are getting the most up to date information.”

It is unclear however as to the news tab’s prospects in the United States, or indeed internationally. Reached by email, Rachel Milner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, said this was an experiment and declined to share any further plans.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger to Net Worked and SPJ’s community coordinator. He is also Co-Student Life editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

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Snapchat Live, Citizen Journalism

You know what social media I purposefully held out on?  Snapchat.

I’d seen one too many of my peers get burned by that pesky little instant-messaging system –– either by sending the right snap to the wrong person, or getting that ugly selfie screen-shotted (I’m sure that’s a verb by now, right?).

No way, I scolded myself. Sending unattractive pictures of my face in different discrete locations is not the kind of social media I want to engage in.

And here we are.  I’ve succumbed to the inevitability of Snapchat, much to the delight of my closest Millennial friends.

Though I still haven’t figured out all the quirks and mechanics of the app itself, (like what really happens when you swipe left instead of right?), I’ve embraced Snapchat as a tool for news, like the nosey little journalist I am.

Not only is my favorite news organization, National Geographic, highlighted in Snapchat’s Discover section every morning, but there’s now a new feature I can’t stop clicking on: Snapchat Live.

Live is essentially a city spotlight, where one city from –– get this –– around the entire world is selected every few days.  Snaps sent with the city’s geotag (a marker identifying the city, swipe right a few times to see yours) are collected and sorted into a story by Snapchat support gurus.  The result is a curated, 100-some-second photo-story told from a handful of the city’s denizens, from almost every location (and angle) possible.

As a wanderlust soul stuck in suburban Ohio, I can’t help but smile and laugh along with those Snappers (a new term for Snapchat users, perhaps?) waving and yelling “Hello, from Cairo!” on my tiny little screen.  In the past few weeks, I’ve been transported to São Paulo, Brazil, and a dazzling city in the United Arab Emirates.  I’ve been taken on intimate boat rides, shown the pyramids of Giza from a lofty rooftop, and seen the sun set on different continents –– without having left my bedroom.

The world is truly a wonderfully small world, after all.

Now, I’ve seen many of these breathtaking sites from textbook stock photos and glossy banners in magazines.  But there’s something about this utterly raw, perfectly imperfect footage on Snapchat Live that keeps me coming back for more.

It’s real.  It isn’t some doctored postcard sent to seem luxurious, remote, or exclusive to us relatively affluent Americans.  Snapchat Live showcases young people, like me, using social media as a tool, a guide, to make our world feel more like a community instead of divided countries.  And I admire this emerging form of citizen journalism, for all of its genuine humanness, if you will.

Because when I’m driving around Columbus, I see more of Fifth Avenue traffic and corn-shucking at my local farmer’s market, a crowded movie theater parking lot and an even more crowded Jeni’s ice cream stand than I do the picturesque skyline of downtown plastered onto every travelogue in history.  And that’s the kind of story I want to tell, to show to others: the bright, beautiful, undiscovered world in which I live.

Snapchat Live is also being used to capture historic moments and live entertainment events happening around the world; I watched the U.S. Open of Surfing this afternoon.  So, don’t be like me –– see what Snapchat is all about today.  I believe it’s redefining citizen journalism in the 21st century as we know it.

Bethany N. Bella is studying Journalism, Environmental Studies and Cultural Anthropology at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Connect with her on Twitter @bethanynbella or browse her work at bethanybella.com

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Is Snapchat discovering a journalistic comeback?

As Snapchat updates its Discover feature, its still trying to figure out its purpose in the world of social media. (Image: Flickr user ryan.nagelmann under CC)

As Snapchat updates its Discover feature, its still trying to figure out its purpose in the world of social media. (Image: Flickr user ryan.nagelmann under CC)

The last couple of weeks have seen changes to Snapchat’s Discover feature, the platform established in January by the Los Angeles based social network that has seen content from providers including CNN, ESPN and the Comedy Central network.

Two weeks ago, a new iOS update was made available, putting the feature front and center before stories and updates from other users. The update came amid concerns of decline in engagement through Discover, according to a report from Mashable.

Earlier Monday, it was announced that the iHeartRadio streaming service and BuzzFeed would start publishing on Snapchat, according to a report from the tech news site Recode, which added that Vox.com would also begin publishing on the platform later in the summer.

These moves from Snapchat comes as it continues to make a name for itself in the world of social media journalism through Discover, as the concerns of engagement decline continue to make themselves known. But in order for Snapchat to reverse the decline concerns, there must be an appeal to engage with that content. Is the engagement responsibility down to the publisher, or is it down to Snapchat?

Snapchat is still seen as an underdog as far as social media platforms, but brands and publishers are ready and willing to engage with as many different audiences as possible. The addition of brands like BuzzFeed to Discover signal that publishers want to engage with Snapchat’s audience. Indeed, for Snapchat, this signals that it wants to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the interaction of social media and journalism.

Yet, more must be done by the social network to convince younger audiences that Discover is worth their time, in an age where the media environment for them consists of a multi-screened, multi-platform experience. On the other side, the Discover feature should be able to signal that Snapchat is ready to be a part of the ever expanding world of social media journalism, something that will please its early investors, as well as become credible competition to Facebook and Twitter.

Even as new publishers join the list of making their content available on Discover, Snapchat is still trying to figure out the role Discover should have. It will take some time to come to a conclusion, and to convince publishers that engaging through this platform was the right move.

Until then, Discover has taken on a new form – a way to figure out the answer to what all the buzz is about when it comes to Snapchat, something that remains, for the most part, mostly unanswered.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger to Net Worked and SPJ’s community coordinator. He is also Co-Student Life editor and media correspondent for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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The Power of a Picture

The saying goes “a picture tells 1,000 words,” but what happens when those 1,000 are misleading, untrue and misinformed? This is the situation that was created, according to Snopes, when a Boston columnist and radio personality tweeted a picture of an Army veteran who is a double amputee and CrossFit athlete. Gerry Callahan, the columnist, implied in his tweet that the veteran was the runner up to Caitlyn Jenner who was named the winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award given by ESPN. Now, I am not going to take a stance on whether Jenner should have won the award or not or whether the veteran should have won the award or not, but this is prime example of how the Internet and social media have the power to spread information at lightning speed whether it is true or not.

The rumor spread so rapidly and elicited such negative responses that ESPN released a statement about the award and a spokesperson for ESPN said in an article with MTV there “no such thing as a runner up for the three major awards” (Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Pat Tillman Award for Service and the Jimmy V Perseverance Award). It is understandable that people are going to have opinions about Jenner winning the award — what do people not have an opinion about? — but the problem comes in when people start sharing information that isn’t true or misleading.

This can happen just as easily with a tweet or Facebook updated during a major event. A supposed witness shares something on social media, news organizations and journalists pick it up, and all of a sudden the majority of people are believing one thing happened when in reality the opposite occurred. It isn’t a new lesson that people need to be wary of information they read on the Internet, but it is definitely one people should be reminded of repeatedly because sharing wrong information will only continue.

This is one area where journalists can be a service to the public. They need to be the ones fact checking the information they are sharing and looking in to what people are sharing around them. Journalists should be the ones who are cracking the rumors and informing the public what is fact and what is speculation. As social media use increases and more people have access to the Internet throughout the world, journalists should be increasing their awareness of what is going on and doing their best to ensure people are informed on the facts instead of the rumors.

Taylor Barker, a member of the Ithaca College chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is the student representative for SPJ Digital. Barker is also an editorial intern for The Miss Information. You can follow her on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Instant Articles: A revolution in journalism

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose social network launches the Instant Articles initiative today. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose social network launches the Instant Articles initiative today.
(Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

Today, Facebook is launching its Instant Articles initiative, where news organizations will be hosting content on the social network’s site.

The official confirmation comes in a blog post from Facebook after previous reports, most notably in March from the New York Times, prompting rampant speculation as to what role Facebook would have, and how it would exactly affect the relationship it had with publishers.

There are nine publishers taking part, including the Times, BuzzFeed and the BBC. The feature is to start on Facebook’s iPhone platform, but expand in the coming months, the social network said, noting more publishers would also be involved in due course. Additionally, publishers are to take the revenue generated from advertisements in that content. Facebook says it allows publishers to provide a better experience for readers.

In that blog post, Mark Thompson, the chairman of The New York Times Company, said the move was significant because of the Times’ audience on the platform.

“The New York Times already has a significant and growing audience on Facebook,” Thompson said. “We’re participating in Instant Articles to explore ways of growing the number of Times users on Facebook, improving their experience of our journalism and deepening their engagement.”

With the release of this initiative, this opens a new chapter in social media journalism, especially Facebook’s role, and will be a revolution in the relationship between the consumer and the news organization.

Dick Costolo may be leading Twitter into a news production age if they acquire Circa. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

Dick Costolo may be leading Twitter into a news production age if they acquire Circa.
(Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

While it is early and the number of partners are limited, the move by Facebook, and indeed speculation of acquisitions and experiments by other social network sites, notably Twitter’s rumored acquisition of Circa, and Snapchat’s decision to hire Peter Hamby as head of news which is likely to affect its Discover feature, this will lead to a change in the thinking of journalism in the social media age.

Facebook has taken the bold step by becoming more than just a way to curate discussion on the news. It has become the news.

Today’s launch of Instant Articles will have significant implications on journalists working on the web. The relationship between social media and editorial content has changed, and while whether if it is positive or negative remains for the moment uncertain, it will change not just how we think about a story, but how we can engage with our audiences.

This is an important time for journalists near and far to consider this initiative and the future of their role in social media journalism, not just on Facebook, but on other platforms, for more moves like this may be on the horizon. We owe it to not just our colleagues in the profession, but ultimately our audience, to be ready for what is ahead, whether you write for a newspaper, produce for TV or radio or for online.

Facebook has shown us what is ahead in social media journalism, and perhaps for the industry as a whole. It is up to us to how we respond to it.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Could Twitter be more than a curator?

Twitter is said to be considering buying the mobile app Circa, according to reports. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter is said to be considering buying the mobile app Circa, according to reports. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter is known by many journalists to be a curator for information, allowing a new way to inform and engage audiences on various subjects. But a recent report may suggest Twitter may be going beyond its curating role.

A report from the Business Insider web site suggests that Twitter is considering acquiring the mobile app Circa. Sources mentioned in the report tell the site that no deal has been reached, and is a route the social network is considering.

The founder of Circa, Matt Galligan, told the site that he had been considering numerous options, but declined to discuss options with Twitter. Twitter, for its part, did not discuss any conversations with Business Insider.

“We didn’t put Circa up for sale,” Galligan said. “We’ve got a term sheet for a Series A on the table, but after evaluating all the inbound interest from potential acquiring parties, we decided we wanted to give more attention to those conversations.”

While nothing formal is in place, this raises an interesting question onto the role Twitter has in the newsroom, and if perhaps the social network would be going beyond a curatorial role, and enter an editorial production role.

Facebook is considering an editorial move, with the social network being the host for news and articles from various publishers. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Facebook is considering letting publishers keep all of the revenue from certain advertisements, as the Instant Articles initiative is said to debut this month.

The rumors surrounding Twitter’s possible Circa acquisition may perhaps be considered a response to Facebook’s move, and creating a new way to tackle distribution and the role of content in the social age. Whether it comes to fruition is uncertain, but it may lead to how more social networks think about their relationships with newsrooms, and more widely, how journalists view the relationship between not just social media and audience engagement, but social media and the editorial process.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Can social journalism thrive on Snapchat?

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Social media has changed the course and direction for engaging audiences, especially younger audiences. Instagram is at the core of that, with a recent study from the Pew Research Institute saying 53 percent of 18-29 year olds use the photo sharing app, while 49 percent of users use it daily. It has also become a way for many journalists to tell stories, including NPR’s White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who was featured on this blog in January.

But not far behind Instagram in the context of social media for younger audiences is Snapchat, and this week it made a major move toward it becoming a new journalism hub. The social network, based in Los Angeles, announced that CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby would be departing the network to join Snapchat as its Head of News. CNN is a partner with Snapchat through its Discover feature.

In an interview with the On Media blog at Politico, Hamby said Snapchat had potential when it came to news.

“Snapchat is one of the most exciting young companies in the world,” Hamby said. “They have a big and growing audience, and we’ve seen Discover is a huge success. Their live stories around big events, around places both here and abroad, the potential to take users to new places — we can see some application of that with news.”

Hamby declined to discuss any specifics of his new role with Politico, but added that he would be with CNN as a contributor through its coverage of the 2016 elections. Neither CNN nor Snapchat did not respond to Net Worked’s requests for comment for this piece. Other partners through the Discover feature include Vice, ESPN, Yahoo and People Magazine.

The news of Snapchat’s acquisition of Hamby comes as a report from the web site The Information said that traffic for Discover had been down 50 percent since its launch in January.

While Snapchat has thus far shown itself to be influential when it comes to social media and younger audiences, it is still early days as to whether it can truly be in the running as a platform for social journalism, though it does have potential to change how younger audiences consume journalism, especially with key events including the lead up to the elections.

The days and weeks ahead will certainly be a test for the social network, but there are also some lingering questions, not just on content, but also engagement, considering the drop in traffic with Discover. Can it compete with Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be one of the top social providers for journalism in a demographic whose media habits are in a constant state of flux? Would newsrooms adopt Snapchat as part of the overall social strategy? Or will it be an outsider on social media, intended solely for its colorful messaging and communication techniques?

The ball is now in Snapchat’s court, with many wondering what its next move will be.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Teaching social media ethics must be a priority

Ethics Week is the perfect time to remember journalism ethics, especially social media. (Photo: SPJ)

Ethics Week is the perfect time to remember journalism ethics, especially social media.
(Photo: SPJ)

This week is the SPJ’s annual Ethics Week, a celebration of, and a time to examine deeper, the Code of Ethics and its primary values – to seek truth, report it, minimize harm, be accountable and transparent, and act independent.

With the rise of new technologies and platforms shaping this industry, it is important to remember the ethics and principles of journalism and adapt them with modern technology. My SPJ colleague, Lynn Walsh, has written a blog post over on the Code Words blog on ethics in the internet age, especially on social media, which should be a must read this week for every journalist practicing in the digital age, student or professional.

As new technologies change how we think about journalism and how we approach it, it is essential that ethics must be considered. This is especially true with social media ethics, from compiling information to its verification, irrespective of platform, as it becomes a larger part of most news organizations’ multi-platform operations, be it a newspaper, television or radio station, or web site.

This learning, especially now, should be made essential by every news organization, and it must be emphasized to every student at every university that teaches journalism. The more knowledge that can be contributed into how social media can work in a journalistic context, and how it can be used responsibly, the better we will be as journalists, and the better this industry will be in the future.

Social media is part of the norm for consuming news. Its ethics must be part of the norm for every practicing journalist. We owe it not just to our profession, but to our audience, and there is no better time to make that happen than right now.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Verify, verify, verify, especially on social media

The Journalism School at New York's Columbia University issued a report April 5 regarding inaccuracies in a Rolling Stone story. (Photo - mathewingram/Flickr under CC)

The Journalism School at New York’s Columbia University issued a report April 5 regarding inaccuracies in a Rolling Stone story. (Photo – mathewingram/Flickr under CC)

One of the biggest talking points in the journalism world at this writing is the just released report from the Columbia Journalism School on the story in Rolling Stone magazine regarding rape at the University of Virginia.

The report, which notes failures that could have been avoided, also has implications for those working in social media and digital journalism.

Indeed, while social media has changed not only how news is consumed, but also how it can be reported, the big point still remains, to verify, verify, verify.

My SPJ colleague, Andrew Seaman, the chairman of the Ethics Committee, reached by email, says verification is crucial irrespective of platform.

“It’s incredibly important to recognize that verification and attribution is as important as it is for journalists reporting for print and broadcast media,” Seaman said. “The Society’s Code of Ethics is written with the understanding that all journalism – no matter where it occurs – is journalism. In all cases, speed nor format excuses inaccuracy. Currently, journalists are fortunate to have social media and other easily available sources to corroborate or verify stories. The trick is for journalists to use these avenues as tool – not excuses.”

Indeed, as Carole McNall, an SPJ Digital member and Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University in New York state, in a note on the social networking site Twitter, indicates, Rolling Stone should do more to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“[Rolling Stone]’s apparent belief that they need to change nothing guarantees it’ll happen again,” McNall said.

For journalists, social media has allowed a new experience in how we consume and report the news, and this report should be a reminder of the basic principles of getting the facts and putting an ethical story together, whether you’re with a magazine, a broadcaster, an online publication or at a newspaper. When reporting on social media, ensure everything is accurate. Take time to verify sources and material. If you’re quoting a report from social, especially Twitter, verify it before running with it.

Social media can be essential, but used together with other reporting tools can help make a story great. Running with the facts just because they are posted on there doesn’t mean it is automatically true, so take time to verify everything before your deadline. Not only will verification of facts make you be a better journalist for it, it will help your organization grow in trust, especially in the digital world.

Remember, it is better to be right and be correct, than being first than being incorrect, and a great story has verified fact. Verify, verify, verify.

For the record, the Society of Professional Journalists issued a statement independent of this blog post, which you can read here, and you can read wider insight from Seaman on the report, posted on the SPJ Ethics blog here.

If you’re a digital journalist, I’d love to know what you think of this report and the affect on social media and other digital tools in journalism. Feel free to drop me an email or send me a tweet. I look forward to reading your feedback.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, blogs on social media’s role in journalism for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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Facebook: The newest content platform?

Facebook is holding discussions on hosting content from news organizations, which may affect the relationship with users. (Photo: bykst/Pixabay under CC license)

Facebook is holding discussions on hosting content from news organizations, which may affect the relationship with users.
(Photo: bykst/Pixabay under CC license)

It has been a momentous week for Facebook, as it held its F8 developer conference this week in San Francisco, with discussions on how the social network will work and what it can do for the future. One of the most notable features were the plans to make Messenger on a separate platform, creating content apps which include contributions from media organizations including ESPN and The Weather Channel.

Yet, as the conference was taking place, news emerged that could significantly affect Facebook’s relationship with news organizations.

The New York Times reported this week that the social network had been in conversations with various publishers to host content on Facebook itself, instead of being directed to the publisher’s site from a Facebook post.

The Times added that this would be tested within the next few months, with potential partners including BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and the Times itself. However, nothing has been confirmed and a specific timetable is yet to be established. Some concerns had been raised of the loss of some data when it came to readership, as well as a loss of readership within the publisher’s ecosystem, the Times report adds.

So, what would this mean for Facebook’s role with journalism, and journalism’s role with social media itself? Could publishers and Facebook make this work?

Jason Abbruzzese, a reporter with Mashable, says these discussions were expected, as Facebook and media were becoming increasingly intertwined.

“This was almost inevitable,” Abbruzzese said in a telephone interview. “It seemed to a lot of people we were heading this way for at least a couple of years.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC license)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg wants to create a perfect, personalized newspaper for every single user. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC license)

Abbruzzese says the big concern should not be on the loss of readership. There is larger readership, and the ability to reach more people quicker, but readership is being done on Facebook’s terms. Readership is being gained despite a loss in traffic to the site itself, Abbruzzese says, as Facebook looks to gain value from an audience used to getting news from smartphones and mobile.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to create a perfect, personalized newspaper for every user.

Lindsey Wiebe, the Associate Online Editor for Maclean’s Magazine in Toronto, Canada, says that the conversations with Facebook and publishers seemed to have been in work for a while, and notes a similar model from LinkedIn, where content can be submitted onto the platform, albeit it being less scrutinized.

“It’s an exciting time for publishers, and a scary time,” Wiebe said in a telephone interview. “Having more avenues for powerful storytelling isn’t a bad thing, [but] there are challenges and issues to ponder within publishing organizations.”

Wiebe adds that while it is a promising development, issues such as monetization and wider reader engagement need to be debated within newsrooms. It did, however, Wiebe says, grab the attention of many digital journalists, and showed the influence Facebook still has in social journalism.

“Facebook may not be the new shiny thing at the moment, but journalists who work more actively in a digital space would never underestimate it,” Wiebe said. “This has made us sit up and take notice, but no one was underestimating it. It was already a major player for newsrooms.”

Yet, should Facebook go ahead and adapt this wider strategy, are there plans for new social strategies to be in place? Will other social networks be abandoned in favor of Facebook, and perhaps create new content?

“If Facebook can deliver on the traffic promises, it can be hard to not tailor content to the Facebook experience,” Abbruzzese said, adding that Snapchat is already doing so via its Discover platform. “If Facebook can provide me with a tremendous audience, it would be hard not to alter the strategy perhaps at the risk of moving resources from Twitter or Pinterest.”

Wiebe says newsrooms must stay up to date on new technology, and as for Facebook, there is still a value, despite the criticism because of changes in the algorithm, and how that influences what news stories users see.

“It can be at times mystifying of being at the mercy of algorithm changes, but also you have an established reader community,” Wiebe said. “We need to stay on top of changes. Any newsroom cannot afford to rely on one social network. There is always a new platform to be investigated.”

Abbruzzese says its about getting great journalism out to as many people as possible, but the balance is still trying to be figured out. Abbruzzese adds that it can be positive in the short term, but there are questions to be answered long term.

Wiebe says Facebook and publishers are working towards the same goal of great storytelling and great content before a wide audience.

“We’d like to think of a relationship as mutually beneficial where each party has a need that is being filled,” Wiebe said, adding that she hoped content needs would mutually benefit both parties. “Whatever direction, I hope that Facebook will continue to work with publishers.”

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, blogs on social media’s role in journalism for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

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