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Media Literacy

Five social media tools aiding journalists in crowd-sourcing, tackling misinformation

4 mins read

The practice of journalism as we know it today keeps evolving, traditional practices that held sway yesterday might not be in vogue in today’s practice. Everyday more ways to do the job better are being discovered and this demands that journalists keep up with the trend in order to stay ahead of the stories by knowing what people are talking about and report effectively.

There are a couple of tools that every journalist should be acquainted with, in order to stay at the cutting edge of their profession. Some of these tools are listed below: 

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a Twitter application that offers a more convenient Twitter experience by letting you view multiple timelines in one easy interface. It includes a host of advanced features to help get the most of Twitter. With tweetdeck, you could manage multiple Twitter accounts, schedule tweets for posting in the future, build tweet collections, and more. All you need do is to go to http://tweetdeck.twitter.com, log in with your Twitter account, once you’re logged in, you can begin to create columns, search for specific topics and hashtags, connect multiple Twitter accounts to your TweetDeck and follow sources. You could also use the twitter  composer on TweetDeck to join conversations and even share interesting topics and events yourself. 

With plenty of tweets dropping every minute, Tweetdeck could help a journalist stay up to date in his or her beat and  follow the stories of what people are tweeting about in a particular beat by creating columns around topics of interest. It makes it easier for a journalist to track stories by following specific hashtags. It helps journalists come up with amazing stories that resonate with current happenings. It basically helps reporters monitor  topics and sources by creating columns on specific issues. You would also be  able to follow breaking news stories because people tweet about things the moment they happen, it also would help you gauge public opinion or reactions to a particular issue or event. 

Reddit

Reddit is a discussion and social sharing website where you can join communities of interest known as subreddits, follow what people are talking about, and also make your own inputs and suggestions. It helps you to know the directions people’s discussions are going and how to report on such directions. Reddit is built around users submitting links, pictures, and text, which everyone can then vote on. Here you can get topics around particular subject matters. 

CrowdTangle

CrowdTangle  is a Facebook tool that helps you follow, analyze, and report on what’s happening across social media. It’s a tool that helps journalists discover stories and report on the spread of public content across social platforms.

Journalists could use CrowdTangle Search to search across Facebook or Instagram for content that would be relevant and useful to their reporting. You can search through keyword, URL, or hashtag and filter by name,country language, organisation,  timeframe and more. It also helps fact-checkers identify posts that contain misinformation. 

It helps show which posts are popping up more than others and having the highest traction on social media. 

However, access to CrowdTangle is limited; the journalist or his organisation needs to have access before access can be granted to CrowdTangle. But there is a Chrome extension – CrowdTangle Link Checker  that is publicly available which can be used to discover who posted what and the origin of specific posts shared. See how often a link has been shared, who shared it, and what it said. CrowdTangle shows the aggregate share counts, as well as the specific Facebook  Page posts, Tweets and Subreddits that shares a URL.

Instagram Hashtag

This is another resourceful place on social media. The Instagram (IG) hashtags section. Here you are able to follow popular hashtags and hashtags on specific topics of interest. Whenever you open a hashtag you are able to see all what people are posting on similar topics with that hashtag. Also effectively using the hashtag in your posts can help people easily locate your stories and build readership for you. “When you use hashtags in your posts, you let Instagram know to put your post in the appropriate folder in case anyone searches for it.” says Alex York of Sprout, a social media management software and solutions company.

Below is a hashtag to end Female Genital Mutilation – #endfgm. Any story about ending female genital mutilation  that has the #endfgm will appear on the posts below this hashtag, making it easier to find by readers seeking such stories and also serves as a resource for a journalist working on issues around female genital mutilation. 

Google Trends

This is another useful tool and place to find amazing stories. Here you are able to follow what people are searching about, issues bothering people, topics that are most searched in your country, region or locality. With such information you can build your reporting around these issues. It also shows you trends to follow, for example, if you follow the coronavirus search trend, it would show you questions people are asking about Covid19, questions they’ve asked before and more. So it helps give more insight on issues while also showing how to use Google data to report on stories.

It can be said that Google Trends was built with journalists in mind, because it serves as a powerful reporting tool for journalists wanting to gauge public interest on a topic or to gain insight into what’s on people’s minds and how they feel.

Conclusion

With these tools, a journalist can properly keep the public informed on issues bothering the public, investigate certain occurrences on cyberspace, and work effectively to achieve great results. 

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