Local News Sites Going Facebook Only? Press Releases Need Local Hook to be Utilized

Last month, Maryland community blog Rockville Central moved to a Facebook only format. The decision attracted media attention from a number of journalism sites including Nieman Journalism Lab and Media Bistro’s Social Times among others. Business Wire’s media relations team spoke to Editor Cindy Cotte Griffiths in a  recent Q & A that explores this innovative move and how press releases fit in.

Cindy Cotte Griffiths, Editor of Rockville Central on Facebook

Cindy Cotte Griffiths, Editor of Rockville Central on Facebook

Business Wire: What has been the initial reaction from the Rockville Central community?

Cotte Griffiths:   Although some people expressed dismay on the website before the move, the initial reaction has been extremely positive on Facebook. Our active users have increased by over 500% and our base continues to grow each day. We are seeing many new people interacting and commenting on the site which has always been our primary goal.

Business Wire: Do you think other media outlets will follow your lead?

Cotte Griffiths: Yes, we do. We’ve already heard of a local newspaper which has informed its staff that it will be shifting entirely to Facebook. However, sites which intend to take advantage of the projected increases in local online advertising probably would not be in a position to shift entirely to Facebook, since Facebook does not offer a revenue sharing arrangement.

Some other interesting developments in the online media world include TechCrunch only allowing comments with a Facebook account, and Warner Bros. making films available on Facebook with Facebook Credits. Meanwhile, big print news outlets are setting up paywalls. Currently, Facebook takes a 30% cut of revenues from sales by third parties using Credits, so perhaps the news world and Facebook Credits might be combined someday.

 Business Wire: What makes an effective press release in your opinion?

Cotte Griffiths: For us, a press release needs to be location-based since we will only report on Rockville, Md.   We’re willing to include stories about organizations or businesses which are on the forefront of their fields since we like to highlight all the great things produced in our community. So for example, if a biotech company cured a disease or an organization started a successful worldwide program, we would be willing to share the story to emphasize what makes our community special.

For more information about PressPass and Business Wire’s other journalist tools, contact our media relations team at Media.Relations@BusinessWire.com.

2 Responses to Local News Sites Going Facebook Only? Press Releases Need Local Hook to be Utilized

  1. Pismire says:

    That is awesome! Until facebook goes away. Then what’s the plan? Like AOL and every other social media / network craze, it will be gone… And then what will you do? Start all over? It amazes me how silly people are with things like facebook. Forcing people to have to have a facebook account in order to leave a comment on a website for example. Facebook was not the first, is not the best, and will not be around in the next 3 to 7 years.

  2. Bongo45 says:

    Too bad that Facebook pages are trashy and shallow. It’s really MySpace all over again, but without blinking lights.

    This move to Facebook is scary and there’s things you can’t even do anymore without it: Some people promote events and businesses using Facebook and somehow manage to alienate non-logged-in or non-Facebook users. I cannot see some details of an event because it’s buried in Facebook, for example. Another example is media outlets are starting to use Facebook to host their in-page comments & discussion. You need to have Facebook to participate, and furthermore the media outlet also provides less thought towards more anonymous posting.

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