Rockville Central, a local news site in Rockville, Maryland, is ditching its entire website for Facebook.
This makes a lot of sense for a community news site. People check Facebook frequently and are accustomed to commenting, liking, sharing and otherwise engaging with content there. It’s similar to what Anthony De Rosa and Richard Blakeley are doing on Tumblr with Neighborhoodr, a network of blogs/Tumblrs that surface news and items of hyperlocal interest.
Obvious problem: Neighborhoodr can run its own ads on its branded Tumblrs, not possible with Facebook.
Rockville Central has solved this problem by not being profit-motivated (oh well). But the experiment suggests that Facebook could be that magical technology platform the struggling news business has been waiting for. News on Tumblr is like news on the iPad; the format is perfect, but the audience is limited. If Facebook could construct way for news organizations to sell ads against their content on Facebook–with both parties taking a cut, as with most content delivery platforms–and make a few news-friendly interface tweaks, it could boost news readership significantly, quantitatively and qualitatively, in all demographics.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries