Reddit and Twitter Power News Reporting with Crowdsourcing
Reddit users recently banded together to gather reports about a shooting at a house party in Toronto, compiling tweets from people at the event. Some of the partygoers had predicted in their tweets that a problem might occur.
Reddit, which in the past has been used as a “crowdsourced fact-checking engine,” according to Matthew Ingram of GigaOm, can function like a newsroom. The site, along with platforms like Twitter, features users who compile facts, data, and information to contribute to the telling of a story.
Andy Carvin, who live-streamed news of the Egyptian uprising on his Twitter feed, told Ingram, “I get uncomfortable when people refer my twitter feed as a newswire. It’s not a newswire. It’s a newsroom. It’s where I’m trying to separate fact from fiction, interacting with people. That’s a newsroom.”
Ingram says that while Reddit doesn’t do exactly what Carvin did, “It’s easy to see how it could be the foundation of exactly that kind of process — one in which anyone, journalist or not, can contribute information that can then be verified or pulled together into a story.”
He continues, “Imagine how much better the CBC story could have been if it had made use of some of the background and linking practices that you see in the Reddit post, or if the two had worked together, and you get some idea of what the newsroom of the future looks like.”
Even big news outlets are harnessing the power of crowdsourcing stories. CNN and other media companies used tweets from Egypt to cover the uprising when reporters couldn’t be at the scene.
MSNBC is crowdsourcing news as well, asking for people to send links to Twitter accounts with information about news stories.
“MSNBC admits that discovering breaking news in real-time through the various social media venues is challenging, however, they believe that with the combination of editors who work 24/7 advancing technology, and crowdsourcing, they can create a viable news resource tool,” according to DailyCrowdSource.com.