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Social Media and Journalism How You Can Use Social Media to Generate Tips and Story Leads that Lead to Better Reporting and Journalism.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Media and Journalism How You Can Use Social Media to Generate Tips and Story Leads that Lead to Better Reporting and Journalism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Media and Journalism How You Can Use Social Media to Generate Tips and Story Leads that Lead to Better Reporting and Journalism

2 Social Media Research: Facebook Facebook is the largest social network in the world, with 1 billion active users. So, access to lots of people! More than a billion pieces of content posted a day People post information privately, but many post publicly, too Facebook’s Graph Search (relatively new): Allows you to drill down to searching for specific people, media created by those people, friends and more Also check to search public tweets, Facebook posts will search public Facebook posts

3 Social Media Research: Geofeedia allows you to search photos, video posted on social media websites Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Picasa, Twitter — all plotted on a map Sort by date range and filter content Possible uses: Searching for photos around a breaking news situation From there, finding possible witnesses to stories It’s not free, and costs can vary, but you CAN sign up for a free trial

4 Social Media Research: Instagram If you can’t use Geofeedia… Use Instagram’s search feature in the app to find specific hashtags for breaking news events You can also search for specific users (if you find someone’s Twitter account, check that name against Instagram)

5 Usage Rights with Images You do not have a right to take someone else’s photo from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to use online, in newscasts or in print. The photo has to be presented in the context of being on the social network. Take a screen shot of the picture, always (you never know if it’ll be deleted) Contact the photographer for permission Taking a screenshot of a profile picture, in the context of the network, is fine. But it’s even better to use Storify With Twitter, you can embed the tweet itself into a story Have language ready for asking to use photos and permission to use them. Ask users from images on social networks.

6 Social Media Research: Reddit Reddit has largely become what Digg used to be: The Internet’s front page Users submit links or posts, and other “redditors” vote the submission either up or down Top submissions make the front page Numerous “sub-reddits” for granular topics Reddit community is generally smart and extraordinarily resourceful, which we found during Aurora “Comprehensive timelines, part 2: Aurora Massacre” “Comprehensive timelines, part 2: Aurora Massacre” Someone came into our theater at the midnight release of Dark Knight Rises and began opening fire. Who here on Reddit can help me calm my nerves? [Link] Link I am one of the 50 wounded in the aurora theatre shooting. Here are a few photos of my very lucky but nonetheless terrifying brush with death. My thoughts go out to those less fortunate than me. [Link] Link I watch the sub-Reddit for Denver closely

7 What should editors in the newsroom do? It’s not always possible for reporters to constantly watch Twitter while they’re in the field Be both the eyes and ears by feeding information An editor must have specific lists on Twitter to people able to quickly find relevant information for a story Does everyone know how to set up Twitter lists? List examples: Colorado Media Waldo Canyon Fire (i.e., event-specific ones) Aurora theater shooting On Twitter follow hashtags, but be aware hashtags (like #theatershooting) can quickly grow out of control

8 How I worked #theatershooting For starters: I wasn’t in Colorado Used Twitter lists after #theatershooting hashtag proved useless to follow, though I still tagged content with it Twitter lists (specifically, Colorado Media) were invaluable Had a head start on national outlets People who normally wouldn’t tweet were suddenly tweeting Live-tweeted, posted to Facebook and Google Plus, used source material from other news orgs (and credited them)

9 How Our Team Worked Aurora Divide and delegate duties online and in social media Ensure each key network is updated: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest (if necessary) Ensure someone is checking Geofeedia (or scanning somewhere for pictures) Had someone searching for eyewitness accounts on social media Someone watches comments on the website Livetweeted press conferences (now have a live account) Had someone set up using ScribbleLive for a live blog Had someone pulling audio of 911 dispatches, press conferences Ask people for help with tips and information We weren’t afraid to pass info along from other news orgs, too. In rare cases, ask your audience to share information (please RT or please SHARE to get the word out). But don’t abuse the privilege Our final online story had six bylines final online story had six bylinesfinal online story had six bylines

10 Crowdsourcing You can use your followers and fans to find anecdotes for trend stories, even on some of the most obscure topics The Denver Post business and features departments frequently come to us to find sources for stories Case Study: Parents raiding their children’s credit during the recession Looking for a 20-something person whose credit had been trashed by parents who had taken a social security number for loans and other credit services Found her through Twitter

11 Front-page story that generated 73 comments and numerous shares across social networks Our most- popular story that day (yes, even beating out Broncos news) An awesome photo, too.

12 Crowdsourcing You can collect data from your followers and fans, too Use Google Docs to create a Google Form, fill out the fields, then share the link on social media Not recommended for scientific surveys We used this technique to find people to help us live-blog their responses to the first Presidential debate Collected name, occupation, age, contact phone, email, party affiliation, race, and open-ended response Received 297 responses for 12 slots [Link] to spreadsheet Link

13 Monitoring Breaking News Follow hashtags using a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite on Twitter, then curate the best information in a tool like Storify. Pull in information from multiple sources (even competitors) because the goal is to be the best source of information Flickr, Facebook, Instagram YouTube, Google Embed URL Case Study: Lower North Fork Wildfire Lower North Fork WildfireLower North Fork Wildfire Case Study: February Snowstorm in Denver February Snowstorm in DenverFebruary Snowstorm in Denver

14 Social Media Research: Twitter Twitter search only lets you go back seven (7) days, though tweets exist for much longer Use Tweetdeck’s filters/search to pull out information irrelevant to your searches (e.g., if spam is an issue) Basic Twitter search: Advanced search is Filter by words (i.e., all words, exact phrases, hashtags) People filter (i.e., from these accounts, to these accounts) Places filter (i.e., near Denver, CO Filter by emotions (i.e., if they have smile or sad faces)

15 Verifying Information Increasingly, news is breaking on a social network before it’s being officially acknowledged by official sources Often, you approach a degree of confidence, but you can’t be 100 percent certain Scanner traffic is very often unreliable We don’t post direct from the scanner, even if it means being late. Better to be late and right, than first and wrong Suggestions, from Poynter, on what to ask: How credible is that information? How important is it to your audience? And how urgent is the situation? Source: Poynter Institute Poynter InstitutePoynter Institute

16 How credible is the information? Consider the source’s history Are they new to the social network? Has the person posted credible information before? Is the source in a position to know what he or she claims? Did the person witness the event first-hand? Fact-check the claims: Message on Twitter or message on Facebook. Ask to talk to the person on the phone. Could the source have missed something important? (i.e., driving by the crash, or standing at the scene)? Don’t mistake quantity of information for quality of information (e.g., Peyton Manning coming to Denver)

17 How important is the info? Is the information a fundamental claim (something happened?) or an incidental fact? Is this worth taking the risk, especially if I’m wrong? Or is there, in fact, little public interest? What could happen if I’m wrong? Case Study: Occupy Denver and pepper spraying of a 7-year- old girl. Lots of tweets from a night-time march that eventually spread But no one was officially confirming it Reaching out to sources yielded nothing. No photo of the incident or videos

18 How urgent is it? By the time you’ve finished trying to solve the problem, will the moment have passed? What damage could be caused by waiting to publish? Is there a public safety concern? Case Study: Reporting Joe Paterno’s death prematurely Huffington Post, CBS News carried a report from Onward State, a student publication, about Paterno’s death Saturday evening – but didn’t cite them Onward State gained credibility during the Sandusky scandal NYT, AP, CNN knocked the reports on Twitter down AP held off reporting until it had it confirmed the next morning

19 Social Media in Perspective 16 percent of Americans tweet, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center study. 51 percent of Americans ages 12 and up have Facebook accounts, according to Edison Research. It’s growing – and quickly Recognize that you’re probably reaching people on social media who you normally aren’t reaching

20 Case Study in Social Media 3 die after mid-air collision near Boulder Municipal Airport in Feb. 2010 mid-air collision near Boulder Municipal Airportmid-air collision near Boulder Municipal Airport Ran search for “plane crash” on Twitter, Facebook No names released, but family member tweeted hours after the crash

21 What should you be active on? Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Quora, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Google Plus, Foursquare, LinkedIn First: Where’s your target audience? Politics? Probably Twitter. Recipes, fashion, style, photography? Pinterest Photography only? Tumblr, Pinterest, StumbleUpon Breaking News? Twitter and Facebook, not Pinterest Energy reporter Mark Jaffe uses LinkedIn groups Facebook applies to everyone, but it’s not open Twitter’s big, but not everyone uses it (but it is open ) Have a plan, write it down, set goals — but don’t set them too far out because social media changes too quickly Consider the resources you have and go after the quick wins

22 What should you be active on? For smaller networks, someone must own them, with others helping as it comes up We all share Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus Pinterest, Tumblr, Foursquare, Reddit are owned by people Step outside the traditional storytelling modes Host G+ hangout with journalists on popular subjects Facebook chats Allow writers to respond to questions on Quora and Reddit Use the right tool for the right job – just like you wouldn’t do a video for the sake of a video, don’t use a social network for something if it doesn’t fit Experiment — and then fail. But iterate, adapt and change.

23 You’ve done research. Now what? Present the information Use Storify to pull in images, write longer text and then embed on your website, like a story If you refer to Twitter posts or other bits of social media research, LINK TO THEM The link is the foundation of the entire web It’s your source material, your paper trail in case someone wants to check you And it saves you from being sloppy (you can’t be as easily charged with plagiarism if you’re linking)

24 You’ve published. Now promote. Promotion of your work is key — it’s where so many people now get their information On Facebook (and Google Plus) Pictures go farther than standard links Links should have thumbnail photos — more visibility Ask a question to get your users to engage On Twitter: Don’t use all 140 characters, ever Don’t give away all of the news, but don’t be obnoxious Mix with both professional and some personal, but don’t be an open book

25 Data: Are you reaching people? Chartbeat provides us real-time analytics showing how people are moving through our website, and where they came from We make editorial/social media decisions based on what people are sharing NOW Omniture gives us a long term view of traffic and social media trends Social media data is still very new, and in many cases very hard to track Mobile devices and apps make this more difficult

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