More than 650 news industry leaders, journalists, and academics convened from Thursday, June 13 to Saturday, June 15 for the ninth annual GEN Summit at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece. In the words of GEN President Jim Roberts, “The GEN Summit is all about peer-learning and facilitating partnerships for our common cause.” Established in part to build community through news, the Facebook Journalism Project shares in this spirit and attended this year leading three masterclasses and two workshops.
To kick off GEN Summit 2019, Jesper Doub, Facebook’s Director of News Partnerships for EMEA, participated in a fireside chat on the Greek National Opera’s main stage. His message: “There is a clear commitment to our responsibility to help journalism find its way.” Facebook’s commitment also aligns closely to this year’s theme: Voice, Visual Journalism and Verification. Doub shared how Facebook is acting in support of new and traditional media voices, innovative storytelling at the local level, and meaningful social interaction on platform by elevating quality content. Read on to learn more about the key events, including top takeaways and links for deeper dives.
Visual Journalism and Video Best Practices on Facebook
Sarah Brown, who leads training and news literacy for Facebook in EMEA, quipped at the start of her session that if she had given her master workshop “Visual Journalism and Video Best Practices on Facebook” when she joined Facebook four years ago it would have been about five minutes long. Today, Facebook has a full suite of video-oriented solutions for journalists and storytellers to connect with audience.
Facebook Watch, Creators Studio, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories are just a few of the tools video producers are using in more innovative ways. While it’s important to understand how each of these tools work when building a video strategy to foster audience, the fundamentals or best practices for how publishers are finding success can be applied to all of them, and beyond. Some of those best practices for consideration include:
- Habit Building — Publish on a regular schedule to foster appointment viewing as with a bulletin in Stories at the same time each afternoon or day of the week.
- Loyalty — Creating a strong theme, through-line, concept or cast to keep viewers coming back; track viewership week-over-week with the new Loyalty Insights Chart in Creators Studio.
- Dialogue — Spending a few minutes to start conversations, respond to comments and answer questions can turn a casual viewer into a loyal fan as with in Groups.
Learn more about video on Facebook in the Publisher Help Center.
Following Sarah’s presentation, Facebook Strategic Partner Manager Hassan Salahuddin gave a demonstration of Vidpresso, a platform that brings video producers the power of a broadcast control room in a browser. From custom graphics to split screens and on-screen live polling, Vidpresso allows producers with limited resources or experience to easily execute a first-tier video strategy.
Learn more about Vidpresso and its wide array of in-browser production solutions.
Building Community: Facebook and Local News
People want to see news that matter to them. Local newspapers keep people updated on what’s happening in their community. They also play a vital role in holding local councils and government institutions accountable. Sian Cox-Brooker is a former journalist who has been working for the past 18 months in EMEA on strengthening the local news community through partnerships through the Facebook Journalism Project. She described the initiative’s work with local news as focused on three areas: programs, trainings, and partnerships.
The Accelerator Program
The Local News Accelerator Program was created with the view that collaboration among local news publishers, along with expert coaching and financial support, could create sustainable positive business results. The program starts with three-months of collaboration and expert coaching, followed by a six-month grant period of strategy execution. The most recent Accelerator in region was held in Berlin for 14 German-speaking publishers, and focused specifically on strengthening their subscription-based business models. Throughout the Accelerator program, publishers have participated in sessions covering everything from the 10 essentials of membership programs to email marketing, messaging, and the Scrum framework. Catch up on all the lessons here.
This year in Europe alone, Facebook has trained over 400 journalists ahead of the European Parliament Elections. Through Facebook’s partnership with Poynter, over 6,000 journalists have completed e-learning courses. The Poynter e-trainings are available to all journalists, and more information, including registering for the latest course on Journalist Safety can be found here.
The UK Community News Project
Partnerships with local journalists and local newsrooms has now kicked off a new initiative this year with the U.K. Community News Project, a £4.5 million (USD $6 million) fund designed to support local news. This investment will enable the recruitment of approximately 80 trainee ‘community journalists’ and place them at the heart of local newsrooms on a two-year scheme. The goal is to encourage more reporting from towns which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters. Read more about the Community News Project here.
Elections, Fact-checking and Verification with CrowdTangle
More than 30,000 journalists use CrowdTangle worldwide for newsgathering and to grow their audiences. Make sure you never miss a big moment. Compare yourself with your industry peers. See who has posted your stories. CrowdTangle’s real-time dashboards surface the best content from more than a million social accounts and categorizes it.
In the session ‘Elections, Fact-Checking and Verification with CrowdTangle,’ James Morgan, who manages partnerships for CrowdTangle in EMEA, shared tips on how journalists are currently using the platform, and seeing strong results. For example, by creating lists of public figures and pages, journalists can monitor politicians and political parties. Journalists can search for keywords and hashtags to monitor hot topics in near real time. And by building live displays and setting notifications, they can stay on top of breaking stories in the moment.
In addition, newsrooms can use CrowdTangle to cover elections through leaderboards, tracking which candidates are driving the most conversation, and download historical data to see what a candidate has said through the history of their social media accounts.
All of these tools have helped journalists in newsrooms across the globe break stories, report, and track the viral life of their work. For examples and inspiration on how you can use CrowdTangle in your newsroom, check out these case studies from the CrowdTangle website.
When it comes to fact-checking and verification, consider using the CrowdTangle Link Checker Chrome Extension. You can use it, for example, to see which Pages are driving interactions around political content. But it doesn’t just have to be on your own stories. Use it on political campaign videos or posts, political websites, and more. You can even use it on misinformation sites to find bad actors, and see which Pages are sharing that kind of content.
Other resources shared during this session included:
- The CrowdTangle Elections Playbook for Newsgathering
- The email address for newsrooms to request free access to the platform: support@CrowdTangle.com
- A free Facebook video search tool to track video performance
Interested in getting a taste of CrowdTangle in action? Check out this review of social highlights from GEN Summit generated with CrowdTangle and be sure to use the settings icon at the top each feed to adjust the timeframe: GEN Summit 2019 Live Display.
Enhance Your Digital Subscription Strategy with Facebook
Attendees of this workshop with Henry Chong, Partner Engineer, Facebook Media Partnerships gained hands-on knowledge on how Facebook can support their subscriptions business. Through an introduction to Facebook’s Instant Article Subscriptions product, and covering the various content and audience insights available to use through our platforms, they learned what they could do today to unlock the full potential of their overall digital subscription strategy.
Instagram: Visual Storytelling & News
With a community of more than a billion people worldwide, including many newsmakers and cultural icons, Instagram is a powerful place for news organizations and publishers to find new audiences. Attendees who joined this workshop with Andrea Willford, Instagram Partner Manager, learned the latest best practices for visual storytelling on Instagram, as well as how to develop audiences and build business on the platform.
Check out the list of resources shared during these workshops here.
Registering Your Facebook Page as News
Facebook helps people around the world connect with the news that’s most important and meaningful to them. In an effort to identify the Pages that publish news on our platform, we are asking publishers to register their news Pages.
Publishers with registered pages may receive benefits and consideration with respect to some Facebook policies and products. Benefits will evolve over time and registering news Pages will allow us to understand the full breadth and needs of the news ecosystem on Facebook.
Any Page that primarily publishes journalism intended to inform people about current events or information is encouraged to register. Currently, news pages in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Dutch are eligible to register their news Pages on Facebook. The application process can be initiated by the Facebook Page Admin via the Business Manager. For more information on the registration process, please visit the Facebook for Media Blog.
Visit Our Booth at GEN Summit 2019
Our Team at GEN Summit 2019
About the Facebook Journalism Project
In order to support high-quality journalism, the Facebook Journalism Project works to create strong ties with the news industry by building community through news by training journalists and publishers around the world, and by working with partners to support quality news.