Facebook and the social media news agency Storyful Thursday announced the launch of FB Newswire, a site that the social networking giant hopes “will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.” Storyful will provide verified content on the service.
“More and more we are looking for ways to make our content more accessible to journalists,” Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media partnerships, said in a phone call with Poynter. The company has been “driving a lot of referrals to news partners,” Mitchell said. “It felt like we were a positive member of the ecosystem.” The company recently hired Liz Heron from The Wall Street Journal to facilitate partnerships between Facebook and news organizations. Facebook is “excited to deepen our relationship with media organizations and journalists in the days to come,” Mitchell wrote in a blog post.
The page will be publicly accessible but is “100 percent” aimed at journalists, Mitchell said. “The format on the page will feel like a wire,” he said. “It will seem as if it’s gibberish” to people outside the field, he predicted. Among the subjects it will cover: Breaking news, sports, entertainment, weather, viral stuff.
Very little of the content will come from other news organizations: Mostly it’s coming from newsmakers, witnesses to events or agencies involved in them. Storyful’s curation of the page means newsrooms have an “insurance policy,” Áine Kerr, Storyful’s managing editor, said in a phone call. Storyful verifies content posted on social-media platforms, a process the company’s former managing editor Markham Nolan detailed in a memorable TED talk. News Corp recently bought the Irish company, which has newsrooms in Dublin, New York and Hong Kong.
News Corp executive Raju Narisetti told Poynter at the time of the purchase that it saw “significant revenue potential” in Storyful. I asked Kerr why newsrooms will pay Storyful now that it’s putting content up for free on Facebook. A larger pool of content, for one thing: FB Newswire will exclusively share content Storyful has found and verified on Facebook.
Not that that’s a small pool: Facebook has “650,000 pieces of content being shared every minute,” Kerr said. “We’re really trying to capture the breadth of Facebook.” Storyful “will still be combing the social Web at large.”
One interesting part of Facebook’s outreach to journalists is that it includes blasting out FB Newswire content on Twitter. “The hope, obviously, is that newsrooms will come in, find great content, embed it and use it to engage their audiences and drive traffic,” Kerr said. The companies haven’t tested the service yet on journalists. Thursday “is going to be fascinating to us,” Kerr said. “We’re here to learn.”
by Andrew Beaujon