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Tool of the week for journalists – TimeKiwi, to create social media timelines

Tool of the week: TimeKiwi

What is it? A new tool to turn tweets, blog posts and Instagram photos into a timeline. Add a Twitter handle, a Tumblr, WordPress and Posterous blog and an Instagram account and TimeKiwi will mash them into a combined timeline.

How is it of use to journalists? For storytelling. The tool allows you to demonstrate how a story has progressed. The tool does not require you to authorise the app so you can add any Twitter handle to see how that person’s tweets have played out over time.

Take this example of a timeline of canon Dr Giles Fraser who resigned from his role as chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral last week over plans to forcibly evict Occupy protesters. Adding his @giles_fraser handle allows you to show his tweets as either a vertical or horizontal timeline.

The free version of TimeKiwi cannot be embedded so it is of limited use in telling a story on your site but you can still share links to created timelines. A “business” version is in the pipeline which promises an embed feature and custom views which could be of particular interest to journalists who can then show mapped out tweets and blog posts within a news story.

This TimeKiwi takes in the @journalismnews Twitter account and the Journalism.co.uk WordPress blog.

 


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Tool of the week for journalists – Error Level Analysis, to test if a photo is a hoax

Tool of the week: Error Level Analysis

What is it? A free tool to allow you to test whether or not an image has been digitally manipulated in programmes such as Adobe Photoshop. Paste the URL of a photo and Error Level Analysis will return results in an instant. The tool tests how many times an image has been manipulated and re-saved.

How is it of use to journalists? Journalists frequently have to verify images and work out whether they have been manipulated. It may be to test whether an image from a press release has been altered, or from social media sources using Twitter and Facebook.

Take the case of a journalist’s quest to find the man behind the world’s most expensive everything. Stewart Campbell, the deputy editor of Motor Boat and Yachting, set out to prove that a press release claiming the launch of a £3 billion golden superyacht was a fake. Campbell’s keen eye led him to the original photo, which he could prove had been doctored. Error Level Analysis would have demonstrated the level of digital manipulation, which you can see by clicking here.

The Error Level Analysis site clearly explains how the tool works – and comes with a word of warning about interpreting the results:

It works by resaving an image at a known quality, and comparing that to the original image. As a jpeg image is resaved over and over again, its image quality decreases. When we resave an image and compare it to the original, we can guess just how many times the image has been resaved. If an image has not been manipulated, all parts of the image should have been saved an equal amount of times. If parts of the image are from different source files, they may have been saved a number of different times, and thus they will stand out as a different colour in the ELA test.

It is worth noting that edges and areas red in colour are often depicted as brighter in the ELA tests. This due to the way the photos are saved by various programs. It is not proof that image was manipulated.

If you are unsure how to interpret the results, please do not claim the results of this tool as proof of anything.

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Google+ is now open to all – but are journalists using it?

September 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Google last night (Tuesday, 20 September) announced that its social network is now open to all.

The was much optimism about Google+ when it launched in June, particularly among some journalists who were quick to share invites and sign up, but who is now using the newest social network?

A quick straw poll on Twitter suggests many are nonplussed (see tweets below).

Technology journalists, including the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones and Channel 4 News’ Benjamin Cohen – an early advocate who predicted Google+ could be a Twitter killer - are among those posting with enthusiasm.

So are journalists using all the features available? Despite these 10 ways journalists can use Google+ it appears most are simply using Plus for sharing stories and for conversations around them but are getting quality comments and a high level of engagement.

Even if you do not feel inclined to post or try out new features such as hangouts (video calls) on your phone, it is worth journalists being aware of one new feature: improved search – something Google should be good at.  You can now search topics as well as people. With more than one billion items shared and posted on Google+ every day, according to the announcement, it is worth keeping Plus in mind as a newsgathering tool.

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News sites can now create a branded page on Foursquare

August 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Newspapers, news sites, broadcasters and even journalists can now set up a branded page on Foursquare without having to go through Foursquare’s business development team.

Foursquare pages are now self-serve and any brand, organisation, or publication can create one.

Publishers can use a page to gain followers, share tips, check in, and reach fans. One advantage to a page is that it can now have a number of ‘managers’.

Foursquare’s blog lists the following features of benefit to brands:

  • Reach the whole Foursquare community with your tips and check-ins (and push those check-ins to both Facebook pages and Twitter).
  • Let entire teams of people manage the same page. With our new tool, you can make multiple people page ‘managers’, so that they can all contribute. It’s perfect for big organisations.
  • From the web or your mobile phone, you can upload photos to your tips and check-ins. It’s great for making them really shine for all of your followers.

There’s a gallery of Foursquare pages to help you get started.

To create a page click here and sign in with your company’s Twitter account.

If you create a branded page for your news site, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Why news sites should consider adding the LinkedIn share button

TechCrunch has revealed LinkedIn is now sending the site more referral traffic than Twitter.

Much of the traffic appears to be down to referrals from LinkedIn Today, a collection of articles shared by your connections – including via Twitter – but a quick look at the number of clicks a LinkedIn share button is acquiring suggests it is well worth adding.

TechCrunch’s post goes on to reveal this amazing fact:

The biggest stat of all is that a year ago, traffic coming from LinkedIn was 1/50th what it is today on a monthly basis.

So what changed? As far as we can tell, this is all about LinkedIn Today, the social news product the service launched back in March. It was around that time that was saw the first big bump in terms of traffic coming from LinkedIn. In March, it roughly doubled from February. Then April was pretty flat — it was still much higher than previously, but not growing. Then in May, traffic went up 5x. And in June, it more than doubled from that. The growth has been astounding.

Of course what’s perhaps most interesting about that is that LinkedIn Today is powered by Twitter. Twitter shared links determine what shows up on LinkedIn Today, but the traffic does not go back through Twitter.

Even more surprising is that the biggest traffic driver to TechCrunch is Facebook.

The truth is that if this were October of last year, you would have been right in thinking that Twitter was our top referrer in terms of social websites. But since that time, Facebook has far surpassed Twitter in terms of traffic coming our way each month. In fact, Facebook.com is now sends nearly double the traffic that Twitter.com does. This is probably due to the fact that last November, we added Elin, our excellent community manager, who curates and engages with people from our feed on Facebook. I also suspect it has to do with the rise of the like button. Ever since it was released last year, Facebook has been steadily referring more readers our way.

Speaking on today’s Journalism.co.uk #jpod on how journalists can best use Facebook pages Jack Riley, head of digital audience and content development at the Independent, explains how the Independent has seen an impressive growth in traffic to its news site via Facebook and how social referrals have overtaken traffic generated by search.

Riley states:

Just as we saw with the Google wave of the digital media revolution when everyone optimised their sites for search and SEO became a huge industry in its own right, now everyone is having to optimise their sites for social.

In the podcast Riley explains that this means adding open graph tags to articles so they are optimised for Facebook sharing.

But if your next step in social is adding LinkedIn share, here is how to add the button by copying and pasting a simple line of code.

TechCrunch’s post on its social traffic is well worth reading and is at this link.

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@more4news challenges government on Twitter

July 29th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Some more simple and effective use of social media tools (and personality) from the team behind More 4 News.

We’ve covered Channel 4 News’ use of Twitter before and its crowdsourcing experiments – but yesterday sister channel @more4news got in on the act.

Responding to the launch of a 20-page guide for the UK government on using Twitter, @more4news issued a challenge to the 12 departments using Twitter: to sum up their current priorities in 140 characters.

More4 News Twitter account

The responses were later used by presenter Alex Thomson (@alextomo) in an evening broadcast on More4.

Four government departments don’t tweet it turns out (including the department for culture, media and sport), but there were replies from the treasury, ministry of justice and ministry of defence amongst others.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the way government departments rose to the More4 News twitter challenge. It’s clear that several of them have recently appointed Digital Media Advisors from among the twitterati,” Michael Hodgkin, assistant programme editor, More4 News, told us in an email.

“Some of the summaries may sound a bit like promoting motherhood and apple pie, but what can you expect in 140 characters? It’s probably a very good exercise to have to sum up one’s aims so concisely.

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CNN’s iReport attracts nearly 4,000 submissions on Iranian elections

June 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Citizen journalism

The role of amateurs, citizen journalists and non-professional media in the coverage of the Iranian elections and subsequent protests has been significant, both in its provision of material and insight to traditional news organisations, who have had their reporting restricted; and in its use of social media tools.

CNN’s citizen journalism site, iReport, has received 3,866 submissions on Iran since coverage of the elections began, with 1,600 from last Saturday and Sunday alone, according to a press release.

Of these, 131 have been used on air or online by CNN, after producers have carried out verification checks.

It is apparent that the reason for this astonishing increase in iReports is because of the strong views felt towards this specific case. Likewise during the election of Barack Obama CNN also saw an increase in iReports.

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Save The Media: What’s a typical day in a web-first newsroom?

February 16th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

Newspaper journalist Gina Chen goes through her working day in an online-first newsroom with some great tips on time management and using social media tools.

Full post at this link…

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Newsphobia: Twitter is not for lazy journalists

Much as I hate people dictating how Twitter and other social media tools should be used, ‘Josh’ makes a good point about using Twitter for easy vox pops. Simply cutting and pasting Tweets that happen to fit the subject of whatever article you are writing is lazy journalism. It’s also a privacy issue. Full blog post…

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Thomson Reuters gets social with Gordon Brown

October 13th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Multimedia

Thomson Reuters went all out this morning in its coverage of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech at the company’s London office.

First off the organisation’s own coverage: the Newsmaker event was twittered by Reuters journalist Mark Jones, whose updates were fed into a special microsite.

There was also video of the PM’s announcement originally livestreamed on Reuters’ website – including a handy dropdown menu that lets you skip through the clip to different key moments.

A full transcript and text article of the speech have also been published on the site.

But in addition to Reuters’ own reporting on the event was live footage streamed using mobile phones and hosting service Qik by social media bloggers Documentally and Sizemore.

“With Gordon Brown due to start talking on the present economic crisis what can two beardy blokes with a few laptops and small cameras possible hope to add?

“Well nothing directly on what is about to be said. I have as much interest in current politics as I did in marketing movies. I’m here with Christian [Documentally] to start conversations around the NewsMaker event that are currently not part of Reuter’s remit,” wrote Mike Atherton aka Sizemore in a blog post.

Below is Documentally’s mobile video of the Newsmaker:

The pair also used social media tools such as online site Phreadz, which builds multimedia forums around content submitted by users, to generate discussion around Brown’s speech.

“I sincerely hope that following today the idea of getting these events discussed on social media platforms such as Twitter, Seesmic and Phreadz becomes a natural part of the news media’s roadmap,” added Atherton.

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