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#Tip: Useful tools for digital newsrooms in 2014

January 13th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Multimedia, Top tips for journalists
Image by JM. Some rights reserved.

Image by JM. Some rights reserved.

NewsWhip has put together a list of tools to help digital journalists brush up on their skills and stay ahead of the game this year.

The list of 10 tools every digital newsroom should be using in 2014 includes lots of useful tips for gathering, curating and visualising content.

Items on the list include the Storyful multisearch Chrome plug-in, which allows you to search multiple social networks from your browser bar, and Datawrapper, a quick and simple tool for visualising data.

Other tools include Google image search for verification and of course NewsWhip’s own social news monitoring platform, Spike.

We’ve also put together our own list of essential skills for journalists to hone in 2014. Online journalists can learn more about new digital skills and developments at our news:rewired  conference on Thursday 20 February, 2014.

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#Tip: Use this Chrome plug-in for image verification

January 3rd, 2014 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

We’ve mentioned how useful Google’s Search by Image function can be in verifying images before – like a regular image search in reverse, you put a picture in the search engine and get results based on where it has been used previously – but the tool is also available as a Chrome plug-in.

Once downloaded, just right click on an pic and select “search Google for this image” to get the results.

It won’t tell you whether an image is fake or not but will show you where it has been used before and therefore help you find the source or deduce if it has been misappropriated.

Thanks to Paul Watson for flagging up the plug-in.

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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: Learn from this post on verifying pope story

April 4th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists
Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The BBC College of Journalism has published a post explaining how journalists could have fact-checked an image that allegedly shows Jorge Bergoglio, the recently elected Pope Francis, standing beside former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla.

The post, which is by Henk van Ess, who chairs the VVOJ, (the Association of Investigative Journalists for The Netherlands and Belgium), explains how internet research could have debunked the incorrect story.

The post explains various tools, tricks and tips that can be useful in verification, such as Backtweets, Google advanced operators and he advises to “always think ‘video’ when you see a picture”.

The must-read post is at this link. runs a one-day course on advanced online research. Find out more at this link.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Verifying Twitter content

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by shawncampbell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Digital First Media’s digital transformation editor Steve Buttry has produced a detailed post outlining a series of techniques for verifying content on Twitter.

Last year, also produced a how-to guide on verifying content shared on social media.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day for journalists – UGC verification

magnifying glass Flickr Ivy Dawned

By Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Storyful journalist Jenny Hauser has produced a post on the European Journalism Centre about verifying user-generated-content. As well as pointers from National Public Radio’s Andy Carvin, Hauser also outlines 5 tips for verifying video content in particular.

Those interested in verification techniques may also find this how-to guide from last year on verifying social media content useful.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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Hurricane Sandy and verification: 4 key takeaways from Storyful Hangout

Copyright: Image by MTA Long Island Rail Road on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Hurricane Sandy presented a challenge to journalists using social media channels: how can you be sure that the content you are seeing is accurate?

Storyful, an organisation that specialises in finding verifiable news on social media, hosted a Google+ Hangout yesterday on verification during Hurricane Sandy.

The guests were Adam Blenford, the online news editor at BBC News; Liz Heron, social media director at the Wall Street Journal; Aine Kerr, the US politics director at Storyful; Tom Phillips, the international editor at MSN, Craig Silverman, who writes the Regret the Error blog at Poynter; Paul Watson, chief technical officer at Storyful and a group of students from Griffith College Dublin. was listening in. Here are four main points that came out of the discussion:

1. Users care about the accuracy of the information they receive from news organisations.

Adam Blenford said: “If they don’t think they’re worried about verification per se as a concept, they’re worried about the trustworthiness of the organisations that they’re using to get their news from.”

Liz Heron said every time the Wall Street Journal posts a photo on Facebook – which will have first been verified by the news outlet – users will still question the authenticity of the image, even if taken by a professional photographer.

“There’s such high suspicion now among our readers and viewers that I think it’s really important, especially in a situation like covering Sandy, to be really obvious and clear about the fact that this has been verified. There’s huge suspicion out there about this kind of stuff, even for professional photography,” she said.

2. To get people interested in the verification process, it has to be as compelling as the fake content.

Craig Silverman mentioned The Atlantic, which embedded a “verdict” on images, and Buzzfeed, which put together a quiz on real and fake images, as examples of organisations that had done something a bit different with their verification processes.

“This is content people are really interested in, it’s useful to them but there are also ways to make it fun and interesting. I think that’s actually been very key to helping the real images or at least the verdict on the fake ones spread,” he said.

Tom Phillips agreed, saying there is a “need to make the verification process as compelling in terms of content as the thing it’s verifying, because if we’re not doing that then it’s going to get lost.”

3. Journalists should be wary of broadcasting debunked fake content because there is a risk users may misinterpret it as genuine.

Craig Silverman added: “The risk that is always there, however, [is] that when you actually put that tweet out there, even if you’re noting it as false, there are people who are still going to read it and who then may actually retweet it without that context of saying it’s false”.

4. A few fundamental journalistic principles can help ensure you are not fooled by fake content.

Liz Heron gave the example of using the live video stream of the New York Stock Exchange, which proved that the rumour it was under three feet of water was untrue. She added that often the simplest way to verify something was to contact the original source directly.

Adam Blenford also added that “it appears that the closer and more finely-tuned your Twitter lists and your Twitter stream was towards New York on the night of the storm, the less likely you were to get hoaxed”.

“That’s the old adage if you can get closer to the story, you’re more likely to get it right.”

In other news…

While on the subject of social media sharing, Twitter stated on Sunday (9 December) that Instagram photos would no longer appear integrated on the platform. Tweets will instead only link to an Instagram picture. In a statement published by the BBC, Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom said it was felt that “the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives”.

Markham Nolan, managing editor at Storyful, told this was an “inconvenience” for journalists specialising in verification.

“It was very easy to click in and out, have a quick glance and do the initial check,” he said.

But he added that he did not think it would “slow down the deeper verification”.

“It just means you have to click out of your Twitter stream every time you want to see an Instagram picture to see if it’s useful or see if it’s something worth verifying,” he added.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: Learn from fake Hurricane Sandy pictures

October 30th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Top tips for journalists

There are a couple of good posts on how to verify images from social media following the sharing of fake Hurricane Sandy pictures on Twitter and Facebook.

Fiona McCann from social news agency Storyful has written a guide on how to spot a fake image in three easy steps. She talks through the process of using Google Images and TinEye and reminds journalists to check sources.

On Poynter Craig Silverman has shared links to useful verification articles.

Here is a guide on verification published earlier this year by

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.


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#Tip of the day for journalists: Save this list of verification tools

October 26th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

If you are newsgathering via social media – or even taking inspiration for a story from a press release, you will need to use one or more of a number of verification tools to help check your sources.

The Emergency Journalism site has a really valuable list of useful links to verification tools that is worth exploring and bookmarking.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day from – verifying videos and images from social media

July 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Mark Little, chief executive and founder of Storyful, a social news agency, has written for Nieman on harnessing “the wisdom of the crowd“.

He shares the editorial processes that guide Storyful in verifying videos and images from social media.

Here is the first of two checklists followed by the editorial team:

  • Can we geo-locate this footage? Are there any landmarks that allow us to verify the location via Google Maps or Wikimapia?
  • Are streetscapes similar to geo-located photos on Panoramio or Google Street View?
  • Do weather conditions correspond with reports on that day?
  • Are shadows consistent with the reported time of day?
  • Do vehicle registration plates or traffic signs indicate the country or state?
  • Do accents or dialects heard in a video tell us the location?
  • Does it jibe with other imagery people are uploading from this location?
  • Does the video reflect events as reported on Storyful’s curated Twitter lists or by local news sources?

It is well worth reading the rest of the article as there is a second checklist.

Tipster: Sarah Marshall

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.


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