Local Paper Rockville Central Moves to Facebook-Only Publishing

With competition from Aol’s hyperlocal news site Patch, community news site Rockville Central has decided to publish through Facebook only. Via Nieman Lab:

Starting March 1, Rockville Central, a community news outlet for the DC-area city of Rockville, Maryland, will move its operation to…its Facebook page. Entirely to its Facebook page.

“There are always two different conversations going on,” Cindy Cotte Griffiths, the site’s editor, told me — one on RockvilleCentral.com, and the other on the site’s Facebook page. Why force the two to compete with each other, when they’re actually manifestations of the same community? Facebook is, Cotte Griffiths notes, “where the people are.” (Rockville Central currently gets about 2,000 of its average 20,000 monthly hits from Facebook, she told me.) “Everyone’s always trying to get people out of Facebook,” she says. “And we’re like, ‘Well, we’re already here.’”

Already Facebook has become one of the most prolific drivers of traffic to sites, and the numbers are truly staggering. Facebook’s Justin Osofsky said that traffic to the Washington Post’s website increased 280 percent year-over-year because of social media referrals, according to a blog post written Dec. 28, 2010.

Expect this growth to continue on its rampaging course for the foreseeable future.

Facebook this week posted a job opening for a “journalist program manager,” based out of their New York City office, whose job would, among other things, to be to preach the gospel of the social network as a sourcing and content distribution platform for journalist and publications. Responsibilities will include

Lead development of strategic programs and projects which help journalists use Facebook progressively as a reporting and distribution tool
Identify and document best practices for journalists, including creating content and case studies

Speak at industry conferences and partner events related to journalism and social media

Counsel individual journalists on how to use Facebook

Provide hands on leadership of cross-functional projects to engage journalists in conjunction with the partnership and marketing teams

Serve as an advocate for journalists within Facebook, and identify new product and partnership opportunities

Develop relationships with key industry and academic institutions with journalism programs

If the move to Facebook-only publishing is followed by other organizations, the question will be, what sort of brand dilution occurs when you no longer control your distribution medium? Already Facebook is playing an outsize roll in the media, but what sacrifices will be borne by content creators in exchange for Facebook picking up the tab for publishing and distribution?

(Source: niemanlab.org)

  1. futurejournalismproject posted this