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#Tip: Process and tools for finding and verifying UGC



One of the ongoing challenges for online journalists is how to effectively find and verify content shared on social media platforms, particularly in breaking news situations where people are looking for accurate information, and fast.

The BBC’s UGC and social media hub is responsible for doing just that, and in a detailed post on the BBC Academy website today assistant editor of the department Trushar Barot breaks down the processes the team carries out to find and verify content, as well as some of the tools they use along the way. He also addresses how the team will try to verify content where they will not be able to reach the creator.

For more on this subject you can also take a look at our guide on social media verification from last year.

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#Tip: Advice for journalists using LinkedIn

Image by Nan Palmero on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by Nan Palmero on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

At our news:rewired conference in September we ran an entire session dedicated to LinkedIn, and focused on how journalists can use the platform to engage with the online community. A write-up of some of the tips shared during the workshop can be found on the event website.

Last week, the blog for the International Journalists’ Network published further advice on “how journalists can conduct more effective searches” using the platform. The collection of pointers came out of a Q&A with Yumi Wilson, corporate communications manager at LinkedIn.

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#Podcast: Using Instagram to find and share media with meaning

Image by Sean MacEntee on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Sean MacEntee on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The use of Instagram continues to spread among journalists, as news outlets test out different ways to share images, and now microvideo, with their existing audience and to reach new communities.

In this week’s podcast, we look at different examples of how Instagram has been used to share and gather images. As well as some of the initial lessons learned, we discuss the benefits for individual photographers or journalists and the media outlet overall.

We hear from:

  • Peter Bale, vice-president and general manager, CNN International Digital
  • Paul Moakley, deputy photo editor, Time magazine
  • Kathy Ryan, photo editor, The New York Times Magazine
With additional reporting by Alastair Reid, news reporter,
You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the podcast feed on iTunes.
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#Tip: Create an RSS feed using the Twitter API

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

It used to be easy to create an RSS feed to follow a Twitter hashtag, user or keyword. One way to do this was to create a Twitter RSS feed using Twitter search engine Topsy.

Twitter switched off the API for RSS back in May, so Topsy is now unable to offer that function.

The good news is that it is still possible to create an RSS feed from Twitter but it is slightly more complicated.

There is a helpful guide here.

And this video guides you through step-by-step:

There is also a written explanation in this guide on how to create a tweet-powered light bulb.

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#Podcast: Balancing breaking news and light-hearted stories on social

November 15th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast, Social media and blogging
Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

When a big story breaks, should a large news outlet still be sharing news about light-hearted stories?

How many updates are too many when it comes to sharing information around a breaking news story? And how do you create stories that are sharable?

To find out the answers, Sarah Marshall, technology editor at, speaks to:

  • Anna Doble, head of online, Channel 4 News
  • Mark Frankel, assistant editor of social news, BBC

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the podcast feed on iTunes.

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#Tip: Catch up on video from BBC social media event


The BBC College of Journalism has published a collection of videos from its social media conference, which took place last month, on YouTube. Each video covers a session, with 11 in total. Subjects looked at include breaking news, curation, user-generated content and investigative journalism, and feature plenty of inspiration and expert advice on best practice. followed the event from afar via the livestream, and reported on some of the tips shared on using social media, as well as a look at the impact of such technology on investigative reporting.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.
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#Tip: Find potential sources with Foursquare

Foursquare map

Eye witnesses are vital in a breaking news situation and finding them fast, when the memories are still fresh, even more so. Social media by itself can tip you off to breaking news situations but finding the people who are actually there, rather than part of an impromptu round of chinese whispers, can prove difficult.

Over on his Web Journalist Blog, Robert Hernandez has put together a step-by-step guide for finding possible sources during breaking news situations by using Foursquare.

It’s also worth checking out our previous tip on using another geolocation/social netowrking app, Banjo, for finding nearby sources.

Next time your racing to the scene of a story give it a try. Maybe let the photographer do the driving though.

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#Tip: See these stats on news site traffic from social media

Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

The people at analytics platform Chartbeat have published a revealing study on social traffic to news sites.

I suggest you read the full post, but I am going to pull out a few key stats and points:

  • Overall, about 26 per cent of traffic we measure comes from social sources – Facebook, Twitter, and email, for example – making social the second most significant source of traffic.
  • Social sources are a better than average source of new visitors: while an average of 31 per cent of a site’s traffic comes from new visitors, an average of 41 per cent of social visitors are new.
  • Social traffic is also dramatically more mobile-based than all other traffic — an average of 25 per cent of traffic is on mobile, but on many sites over 40 per cent of social traffic is mobile.

There is a section of the post which addresses when to post to social (based on EST times). It is worth seeing the figures displayed in a graph in the post.

  • Social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from about 5am to noon, and social substantially overperforms overall traffic from about 3pm until 1am.

Twitter timing is also separated out:

  • Posting to Twitter is strong all morning and reaches its peak just before noon, even though traffic from social is actually its strongest later in the day.

The study also looks at return visitors:

  • About 82 per cent of visitors who come from social only come once, but there’s a long tail of people who come two or more times.

And as the post states, it is worth investing time in social:

Social is also categorically different than other sources of traffic because it’s the only channel that’s easily influenced — while converting visitors to come directly to your homepage is an art and affecting search engine placement leaves much to chance, we can actively choose which articles we put on social media and when to provide those links.


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#Tip: Read this post on the ‘psychology of social media sharing’

Image by IsaacMao on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by IsaacMao on Flickr. Some rights reserved

One of the sessions at MozFest, the Mozilla Festival held at the weekend, was about the “psychology of social media sharing”.

Sonya Song, a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow based at the Boston Globe and a PhD candidate in media and information studies, shared a study she had carried out into Facebook sharing.

She looked at how stories posted on the Boston Globe’s Facebook page were shared.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Easier words and language results in better engagement on social
  • Larger images do better than small ones
  • Asking a question on Facebook leads to 80 per cent more comments
  • The least conversational stories, those resulting in comments, are factual
  • Adding ‘BREAKING NEWS’ to a story increases click throughs

She has written a detailed blog post outlining her findings, which is well worth a read.


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#Tip: 5 benefits of Twitter lists

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

“Targeted, well-maintained Twitter lists are among the most powerful tools in your social media armoury.”

That’s a quote from Malachy Browne, news editor at social news agency Storyful during a presentation he gave at our news:rewired conference on 20 September.

He gave five benefits of Twitter lists:

1. They generate story ideas
2. Read-in for your chosen beat
3. Track your competitors’ habits
4. Keep abreast of a breaking story
5. Promote your entire team’s work

He gave the example of last month’s Ottawa bus crash and how a pre-curated list for key people in Canada meant he could immediately hone in on the area.

Browne’s presentation slides are at this link.

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