Not since the phone book has there been a tool journalists used more than Facebook.
It doesn’t hurt that Facebook gives in to journalist’s penchant of snooping. Journalists use Facebook to look up sources just as much, if not more so, to stalk ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends (as well as future exes). Facebook has also become the biggest distraction in the newsroom since journalists discovered they could get away with personal long-distance phone calls.
Journalists (and newspapers) are so infatuated with Facebook that they actually encourage readers to get updates on Facebook rather than going to their newspaper’s own website. After stalking and “research,” journalists’ third top excuse for using Facebook is to hook up. In fact, Facebook is second only to newsroom co-workers (i.e., those in close proximity) as a source for sexual liaisons.
By their very nature, journalists are prone to oversharing so what better outlet than Facebook? There, journalists can not only post about what stories they’re working on, but what they had for lunch, what they’re having for dinner, and how many drinks they plan to have after dinner.
Via Facebook, observers can watch journalists’ progress toward their deadlines.
7 hours until deadline: “Off to cover board meeting! Agenda is short, hope to finish under an hour.”
5 hours: “Meeting running long. Not finished with announcements.”
3 hours: “Panic!!!”
1 hour: “Help! I need to reach the city manager. Anyone have his number? Need to double check numbers!!”
40 minutes: “Left 12 messages. No one is calling back. Can someone call me to make sure my phone is working?????!!!”
30 minutes: “Outside the city manager’s house. Dictating the story over the phone with my editor.”
22 minutes: “Got the numbers. Racing back to newsroom. Drove through 2 red-light cameras. Expense it?”
15 minutes: “What’s the rule on among/between again?!”
3 minutes: “Computer crashed. Finishing story on phone.”
1.3 minutes: “Turned story in but editor is at lunch!!”
1 hour after deadline: “DRUNKKK BYTCHES!!”
Though there is an undeniable love for Facebook, some journalists are cautious about putting themselves on the site. Out of concern about being viewed as “biased” in the things they post and share, journalists on Facebook include the discretion that links and posts are not endorsements and that views shared do not represent their employer, as if that is the only disclosure they need before posting that link from MoveOn.org or RedState.org (OK, journalists don’t post links from RedState but had to put that as to not appear as a lefty).
Some journalists go the route of having a separate “professional” account. Well this works in theory, it leads to twice as much time on Facebook and the creation of a double personality (“Hi, I’m Ryan and this is Reporter Ryan”).
Facebook also helps journalists keep up with those loved ones that we don’t have time for. Countless birthdays, celebrations, anniversaries (including their own) have been shared via Facebook. Face it – journalists spend more time with Mark Zuckerberg than they do with family and friends.