A seasoned PR pro's thoughts on the Facebook Journalism Project

May 11, 2017
A seasoned PR pro's thoughts on the Facebook Journalism Project

You may or may not have heard about the new Facebook Journalism Project, where Facebook is trying to collaborate with media organizations and users, and improve how we share stories and digest news.

“We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age,” Facebook’s Director of Product Fidji Simo said in a blog post.

In other words, most people can’t be trusted to understand that just because a link is shared on Facebook, it doesn’t mean that Huma Abedin really read Donald Trump’s Hotmail emails about his business dealings with Saudi princes who need to transfer money to a U.S. bank account. That probably didn’t happen.

But, but…I read it on the internet!

I certainly think Facebook’s heart is in the right place here with this journalism project.

They are working on new products to help news organizations distribute their news and increase their audience. This could be huge for a lot of media organizations, especially print publications that have struggled to adapt to the online world as print circulation dwindles.

I also saw where tools and training for journalists is a major part of this initiative.

My immediate reaction was, “You mean like teach them how to do their jobs?” Maybe let CNN know that at 8 p.m., a story that first hit the airwaves at 6 a.m. is no longer “BREAKING NEWS”?

No, it’s nothing like that (I don’t think). It’s training for journalists to help them use Facebook to better share their content and cultivate information.  

The third part of this initiative has to be the most important aspect. It’s titled “Training and Tools for Everyone.”

“As we seek to support journalism, we will also be working on new ways to help give people information so they can make smart choices about the news they read — and have meaningful conversations about what they care about,” Simo continues.

Meaningful conversations? On Facebook? Does this guy have an actual Facebook account of does he just work there?

Facebook, according to Simo, is working to promote news literacy and curb the spread of hoaxes.

If Facebook can pull this off, the company should be elected President of the United States….tomorrow.

While I think they can certainly work to stop the spread of hoaxes using algorithms or the good ol’ fashioned “delete” key, educating the masses on how to comprehend the difference between credible news outlets and “fake news,” will be near impossible. That’s the job of our education system and it’s failing miserably.

You can’t get that guy from your high school track team to stop believing these anti-vaccine websites that want to sell you supplements and tell you dolphin oil cures toe jam. Your uncle isn’t going to believe that Obama didn’t start the local Chicago chapter of the KKK, because…..OBAMA!

But, again, Facebook’s heart is in the right place here and the Facebook Journalism Project could end up improving our online social media world.

If some of these initiatives work, then yes, Facebook will be a better place. And for the things that just aren’t fixable – like stupid – welp, you tried.

What do you think of Facebook's Journalism Project?

A co-founder of Large Media, Inc., Micah Warren has been a public relations strategist for more than 15 years. A published writer with an incredible track record of media placements, Micah has gotten his clients in USA Today, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, Inc.com, CNBC.com, The Daily Caller, The NY Times, The NY Post, Esquire, Maxim magazine, ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” ESPN.com , Askmen.com, GQ, BBC, Reuters and many other newspapers, television shows, radio networks, websites and trade publications.

Photo via Pixabay

About the author

PR pro, Nellie Bly's dad, quasi sports guy

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