Social media outlets are now important sources to journalists for getting story ideas, sources and other content. But because of widespread fake items, journalists cannot readily use social media content without verifying it beforehand.
In order to understand how journalists use social media use and verificy its content, five researchers—Petter Bae Brandtzaeg, Marika Lüders and Asbjørn Følstad of Sintef in Norway and Jochen Spangenberg and Linda Rath-Wiggins of Deutsche Welle in Germany—conducted a qualitative study with 24 journalists working with social media in major news organizations in Europe.
The journalists reported monitoring Twitter for breaking news and news sources, often with the help of tools such as Tame.it or TweetDeck for organizing and structuring timelines, keeping track of lists, searches, activities and more. They also used Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, blogs and Instagram. Blog aggregators, such as Rivva, and news aggregators, such as Newswhip, Google News and Virato, were also on the source list of the journalists.
But they do not uncritically trust content and sources from social media. A journalist said, “If it’s from a militant or terrorist group, like if someone from Al-Shabab posts a photo, then probably the BBC or some of the other big media companies have already used it. And if they have, I consider the content to be reliable.”
The journalists also used Twitter and Facebook to assess authenticity, to contact eyewitnesses or
to access profiles of people involved in crime cases.
Journalists also reported that videos and photos were the most challenging modalities to verify. They used Google Image Search, TinEye, Exif Viewers, Topsy and Tungstene for photo verification. For video verification, the journalists used a combination of tools. For example, the location in a video could be cross-checked with the street view in Google Maps to see if landscapes match.
To read the full text of the study: http://bit.ly/2ijru2G
Brandtzaeg, P. B., Lüders, M., Spangenberg, J., Rath-Wiggins, L., & Følstad, A. (2016). Emerging journalistic verification practices concerning social media. Journalism Practice, 10(3), 323-342.