Tapping Facebook to generate discussion and sources

Headline: Chippewa Valley, Port Huron nicknames targeted by Michigan Department of Civil Rights
Outlet: The Voice
Journalist: Jeff Payne

We got the scoop on a quick and effective engagement win from Jeff Payne, editor of The Voice, a Journal Register paper in southeast Michigan.

A couple of weeks ago, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights announced that it was filing a complaint against a few dozen high schools in the state that have Native American mascots. The Voice took right to its Facebook page with the news, mentioning local schools targeted in the complaint and soliciting reader feedback on the issue.

In addition to the prompt itself being reshared 38 times, The Voice also received numerous reader responses that added to its reporting of the story. The final package was a combination of these reader comments, the Voice’s original reporting, and contributions from other DFM papers in the region — for instance, the Macomb Daily shared a response they received from one of the schools, and the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun offered a summary of the complaint.

All together, it’s an example of how rapid response to a story on social media can actually help facilitate future reporting. Have you ever used Facebook to identify a source? Share your win in the comments — we’d love to hear about it.

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