Posts Tagged ‘context’

Curating Citizen and Community News Stories

Journalists today are being urged to add context and curate news events for their viewer/users. As OMNI’s Joe McPherson says, just start with “…an article or video from a citizen journalism source and talk about it.” For lots of local news, this kind of simple reporting works well.

You can find a newsworthy post or photo or video, and add a bit of background information, some details, and explain the local connection or angle to the story, and it works for your audience.

There are stories, even local stories, that end up generating streams of comments and SMS-style updates, related photos, or videos but as they are posted in real time, they don’t create a structured narrative.

Reporters today need to learn how to verify, source, and analyze social information streams to provide context. Curating is adding a structure or frame to this social stream, reducing redundancy or echo in the messages, and writi

ng what you know best, and just  linking  to the rest.

I found a small but important example of this new kind of reporting on one of Chicago’s Everyblock community sections. From the initial question about an incident of  indecent exposure– a “flasher” –near an elementary school, a discussion ensures about the flasher and what can be done. Then a community reporter,  tipped to the stream by his publisher, uses the community site to get in contact with the victim. The reporter followed up on the story, which ended with the apprehension and arrest of the flasher. The reporter published the story in print, but then posted it back on the community site.

Most of the interesting reading, from the comments to the timeline, to the reporter’s version of the story, happened online as part of Everyblock’s community section for Bowmanville/Ravenswood, or via Twitter. If I tried to copy/paste and link them here, it would have been a big job. Instead, I used a new tool,, that let’s a reporter easily integrate social media from multiple social networks into a storyline, with drag and drop. It preserves all attribution and metadata of each element, and is set up for easy sharing when your story is finished.

You can read and view how the social media are formatted automatically with the metadata and links for yourself. You will be able to view the discussion as it happened. What do you think of this method of curating a story? Want to talk about it? Leave a comment.

The Future of News is Social, Local, and Gets a Flasher off the Streets –

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06 2011