Posted by: davidrcollier | August 4, 2009

A Journalist’s Guide to Facebook

An interesting article looking at how journalists can, and should, use social media in order to enhance their work: finding leads, finding sources and reaching a greater audience. No mention of whether reporters should be required to pay to exploit these services and sources, even as the move to paid newspaper content gets closer…

Some interesting excerpts from the article:

“Journalists should be using Facebook as a tool to unearth timely conversations around their topic or local community,” said J.D. Lasica, founder and editorial director of and a former editor at the Sacramento Bee, in an email interview.

He said many reporters have begun using their Facebook friends to help hone questions for interview subjects, to discover sources for articles who they didn’t know existed, or to learn about issues or events that turn into full-blown stories.



  1. I’ve used Facebook many times when writing stories. It’s interesting how you can narrow down the millions of users to just the ones relevant to a certain category. With stories for the school newspaper, it’s easy to use Facebook to find, for example, nutrition majors instantly. Or at some of my internships, I’ve been asked to use my Facebook account to find friends or relatives of the subject of our story. Sometimes I had to laugh in those situations because the journalist himself should get a Facebook so that he/she can do that research without having to use a the college-aged intern.

    I still, however, take caution at using Facebook as a source. When the Eliot Spitzer prostitute scandal hit, it disturbed me that the NYT cited Facebook as its source for information about the suspected call girl. Do we trust the profiles on social media websites knowing that in many ways they are as reliable as Wikipedia pages? Anyone can make a Facebook page…

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