Links: Session 1B – sorting the social media chaos

In the run up to news:rewired – noise to signal, we’re posting useful links and resources for each of the sessions. In the second post in this series, we look at session 1B: Sorting the social media chaos.

Book Your Place!Speaking on the panel will be Nicola Hughes, data journalist, Data Miner UK; Alex Gubbay, social media editor, BBC News and Matt Wells, blogs editor, the Guardian.

The panel will discuss the best tools in searching social media and filtering the streams of data available from such platforms for sourcing news, as well as offering examples through case studies of how this data can be brought together to cover breaking news or analysis of an event, while responsibly verifying user-generated content and eye-witness accounts.

Social media platforms can be a bit of a maze for journalists trying to source the latest news or opinion, but establishing an effective process for filtering through the data is an important step to getting the best results. Here’s a reading list of resources in preparation for a dedicated session on this topic at news:rewired – noise to signal.


Useful blog posts and examples

  • news:rewired speaker Matt Wells describes how the Guardian mapped Twitter coverage of protests around the Arab world, in a blog post on the Online Journalism Blog – Matt Wells on The Guardian’s interactive protests Twitter map
  • Fellow speaker Alex Gubbay is interviewed in this BBC Newswatch programme, which looks in detail at the broadcaster’s use of social media and user generated content and its verification process.
  • The Economist looks at the growing importance of journalists to be able to effectively aggregate coverage from other platforms as a way of telling a story, or more literally outline how to follow a story, as “one of the indispensable elements of journalism”, in this blog post following on from a discussion at SXSW – Meet the curators
  • The BBC’s Matthew Eltringham looks at so-called ‘old media’ journalists “being forced to engage with the rumour, gossip, facts and factoids being circulated in places like Twitter and Facebook” and the importance of ‘good journalism’ in the verification of this new media content, in a post titled Social media: What’s the difference between curation and journalism?
  • In a discussion on the role of journalists in authenticating user-generated content, Trushar Barot, senior broadcast journalist in the BBC’s UGC (user-generated content) Hub in London, talks in this video post about his view of reporters of the future as “trusted editors” of this information.
  • In this video from, featuring footage from its Online Video Journalism Summit, US broadcasters debate the challenge of using user-generated content to cover breaking news, the importance of verification in this process and how they attempt to perform this.

Other resources

  • The 10,000 Words blog offers great tips in this post on the different ways journalists can use curation tools to make stories “out of content floating about in the social web”.
  • In this series on her Data Miner UK site speaker Nicola Hughes looks in detail at “social searching”, offering a detailed and useful guide to just some of the tools you can use to cut through all the noise and find what you are looking for online on social media platforms. You can hear more from Nicola on this when she speaks at news:rewired – noise to signal.

Image by Marc_Smith on Flickr. Some rights reserved

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