Verifying social media content “involves some new tools and techniques, and requires a basic understanding of the way networks operate and how people use them. It also requires many of the so-called old school values and techniques that have been around for a while: being skeptical, asking questions, tracking down high quality sources, exercising restraint, collaborating and communicating with team members.”
(Published April 27, 2012.) Craig Silverman provides an introduction to the topic and then an annoatated list of eight articles/blog posts that add clarity and examples. HT: Steve Buttry.
"This how-to features advice from a panel of experts on the key considerations, questions and tools journalists should have in mind when carrying out verification of content that surfaces via social media, be it a news tip, an image, a piece of audio or video.
"The process covers three main stages: monitoring of social networks and the online community before news breaks, checking the content when it comes into play and subsequently reporting that content once verified. The comprehensive advice outlined in this how-to guide offers practical steps, specific questions and cross-checks journalists can make at each stage, as well as online tools to support them."
"User generated content comes in all forms and the sheer quantity of material is eye-watering. The most talented journalists today are those who can find the best material and verify it as quickly as possible. The best way of verifying content is to contact the person who uploaded it, and to ask them detailed questions about where they are, what they can see ... Verifying user generated content is much harder than people think, it’s not just a case of doing a search of Twitter and publishing the first thing you see."
(Published March 13, 2012.) Claire Wardle is Director of Development and Integration at Storyful. Previously she developed social media training for BBC journalists.
“The Storyful development team is building products that will help our journalists and clients map influence and connections within social media conversations and get an early warning of changes in their speed or intensity.
“We are also working to scale the techniques our editorial team has perfected in validating videos and images. At its core, this process is built around a checklist ... [LIST] ... Our approach to rating sources and the video they upload revolves around another checklist ... [LIST]”
"Marc Lynch, an expert on Middle Eastern media at George Washington University, says social media and satellite television worked together to draw attention to the Arab spring. Social media spread images of protesters in Tunisia that might otherwise have been suppressed by the regime, he wrote on his blog at Foreign Policy. 'But it was the airing of these videos on Al Jazeera … which brought those images to the mass Arab public and even to many Tunisians who might otherwise not have realised what was happening.'
"The staff in Al Jazeera’s Arabic and English newsrooms had, as it happened, undergone intense social-media training only the month before."
(Published July 7, 2011.) This is an excellent article from The Economist, focusing on the relationship between journalism and social media.
Craig Silverman of Columbia Journalism Review has compiled a list of best practices from journalists on the social media front lines.
"The point is that as much as there are tools and techniques that can be used for verification of social media content, conversation and interaction are in many cases the best ways to move towards verification. Get in touch. Ask questions. Interact. Learn about the source as well as the information."
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