Citizen Media Watch

november 28th, 2008

Good use of microblogging in journalism – give us more examples!

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Whether status updates on social media sites should count as microblogging or not, the walled garden that Facebook still is to a large extent, makes status updates if not useless from a publishing perspective then atleast difficult to accommodate as they are on an open to all site. The same goes for users whose updates are not public on regular microblogging services. For crowdsourcing, feedback and research they are still good tools.

There are good examples of microblogging serving a journalistic purpose, though these initiative do not necessarily come from professional journalists.

  • The Twitter Vote Report is one, where Americans across the country made short reports on how the voting in the US election was really going, using hashtags to pinpoint where they were and what their report was about, for instance #machine for problems with the voting machines. They also reported on waiting times. It all ended up on a big map where you could follow the progress in real time.
  • Get eye-witness reports and comments. For instance check out this Twitter channel on the bombings in Mumbai. More on the Mumbai coverage here.
  • Live reporting from an event. By using an established microblogging site you get comments from site members and you invite them in a natural way.
  • Live commentary to tv shows. One example is Drive on Fox.
  • Coming up with questions for interviews. By asking people what they want to know from a person you’re to interview you get more interesting questions, and you know you’re asking stuff your audience want to know.
  • Local news gathering. Here’s an interesting example from Harrisonburg, VA. Or even as a source for bigger breaking news.
  • Cynthia McCune talks about microblogging as a ”21st century police scanner”, listing these uses for reporters: keep up with sources, get quick feedback, get referrals, post live updates to sport scores.
  • Breaking news. Anders Brenna at digi.no writes: ”Twitter is both the perfect journalist tool for being first with breaking news, and the best relief from the tyranny of breaking news.” Super-fast publishing of the latest news without risking that the reader won’t come to your site for the full story. You can even send a message and point to it once it’s out.
  • Paul Bradshaw has some advice for anyone wanting to use microblogging to cover a topic. Check out the comments too for a few ideas on good use.
  • Another post on how news makers have to change and use micro-blogging tools.

Do you have more good examples? We’ll collect them and update this list (giving you credit, of course).

Also, here’s some advice on what not to do.


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  1. on december 19th, 2008 at 12:33 e m

    […] Good use of microblogging in journalism – give us more examples! […]

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