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Say What? CNN Sees FACEBOOK As Its Biggest Competitor?

Klein at NABJ 2009 conference Photo by Benet J. Wilson

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I received an email from Natalie McNeal, aka Frugalista, with a link to this post on the Mashable blog: CNN Sees Facebook As Major Competitor.  I had to do a double take, thinking maybe there was an error.  I mean, how can a major global news outlet say its biggest competitor is a social media site?

But CNN President Jon Klein says that the social network is more of a threat to his business than other broadcast media organizations, writes Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove.  At BusinessWeek’s Media Summit, Klein told Editor Josh Tyrangiel that he was more worried about Facebook’s 500 million users more than FOX News channel’s mere 2 million viewers.  Media Bistro has more on Klein’s remarks here.

“The people you’re friends with on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter are trusted sources of information,” Klein said in the Media Bistro story.  “People bemoan the state of journalism today, but … the audience wants in. They don’t want to turn their backs on information.”

And journalists are still afraid to use social media to push and highlight their content?  I digress.  Mashable’s Van Grove noted that Klein’s statements come on the heels of a report from  Hitwise showing that Facebook’s new role is becoming that of a news site.  One of my fellow new media journalists nailed it for me:  “this is the surrender of mainstream media. Their job is good reporting and they will now let others do the transmission.”

So what do you think? Is Klein right?  Is the mainstream media surrendering its role as transmitter of news?  Tell us what you think!