Traditionally, news was in many respects a one-way conversation – media organisations disseminated their coverage as they saw fit and you either liked it or went elsewhere for your news.
Only the truly cantankerous or insulted would put pen to paper in the form of a letter to the editor or pick up the phone to complain about a story. Fewer still would go to the effort of writing, or pursuing, a formal complaint with an industry body.
For newsrooms around the globe, life went on in an orderly fashion most of the time, aided in part by the only real forms of feedback: occasional market research and quarterly audience or circulation data.
However, in the past decade or so, the explosion in internet use has given news consumers a voice. Not only are those audiences responding via the comments feature on some online news stories, they also take to social media to share their frank observations about news itself as well as its coverage.
The power dynamic has clearly changed and that’s a good thing, even if it has unsettled those in the business for a reasonable amount of time.
No longer can media simply post a newsworthy or controversial item and forget about it. The same is true for the objects of media attention. They, too, have the ability to respond, publicly, to accusations, claims or intimations.
So timely and overt engagement with audiences is now paramount. Not only must news media monitor social media activity, they also often need to acknowledge what’s being shared and incorporate it into their reportage.
That’s where a 2010 tech start-up, Storify, has since proven its worth as an exceptionally handy tool that allows journalists to embed a selection of social media text and image content into their online news stories.
The example at the top of this post demonstrates just two of several public and customer responses to an ABC News Online story about one of the country’s largest banks being offline for a second time in 48 hours.
While that story only drew on Twitter activity, Storify users can integrate text and image content from many different social media sources, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and more.
Earlier this year, AdelaideNow used Storify to post its audience’s reaction to a heatwave that struck South Australia.
Here are some resources to help you become familiar with Storify and begin using it in your reportage:
- What is Storify and how to use it (tour)
- Do’s and Don’ts for using Storify
- How to curate conversations with Storify
- How journalists can use Storify in emergencies
Words: Trina McLellan