Facebook Trying To Charm Budding Journalists To Their Platform

By @TheMarkDalton

For many journalists, Twitter is the place to be. The speed that news can be broken at cannot be rivalled on other social media platforms. For Twitter, the feed is all about the right there and then.

On the other hand, platforms such as Facebook use algorithms which means that surfacing breaking news content can be more of a challenge. The algorithm has also been hit and miss in my experience and can surface content well after the event has occurred.

But Facebook is hoping to woo journalists over to them by launching a new service called Blueprint. This is a training and feedback programme and will offer free online courses to help journalists find and repurpose content before it goes viral across Facebook and Instagram.

There are three core pillars to Blueprint: helping journalist to find user-generated rich images, video and text which is newsworthy. Decide which products of its portfolio including Live, 360, mentions or instant articles fits the content and help them build an audience around the content.

The courses will cover the bare basics such as the initial steps of getting setup on Facebook, how to get verified, how to alter privacy settings and how to use the basic functions and tools Facebook provides.

There will also be more in depth courses which will provide product tutorials in Facebook Live, 360 video, photos and instant articles as well as advanced keyword searches and hashtag searches. There will also be course to help journalists work out the timestamp of a post and geocontent which can be important when verifying information.

Facebook wants to be where the journalists and editors come to and offering courses could be that bit of candy which sweetens the deal and encourages both budding and established journalists to commit more time and resources to uploading content and distributing it via Facebook.

However there are no immediate plans to change the way news breaks on Facebook and that may be more of a problem when it comes to something you need to get out there fast and get seen straight away. There will be no feed that represents a push towards immediate breaking content and the algorithm that Facebook loves to tweak regularly will still be in place.

On top of that, Facebook recently announced in the summer that they were pushing to an algorithm change which puts family and friends first in the news feed and moves publishers and content creators down the feed and places them lower in priority.

This did not go down well with content creators as it inevitably means a decline in reach and a decline in referral traffic through organic growth and Facebook is showing no signs of changing this. So while they want to help journalists take a free course which is a nice move from the company, it still means that the content gets a lower priority in the feed which could also be an issue for publishers looking to reach a wide audience.