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Published on October 29th, 2012 | by EJC


How Can Journalists Use ‘Storify’ In Emergencies

The role of journalists is to tell a story by putting pieces of information into context. Today, a number of media outlets are using Storify, a social media content curation tool which was publicly launched in April 2011.

During an interview with the EJC, Storify co-founder Burt Herman, pointed out that the future of journalism lies in curation. “There is so much noise and media out there. Storify comes out of thinking about how we make sense of this.”

“The way to make sense of social media is through human curation aided by technology.” – Burt Herman, Co-founder of Storify.

So how can journalists use Storify to curate social media debates and tell a story? “The best practice is to add context. Storify stories are dynamic. You can update and embed it everywhere. In addition, story can be a conversation; you can ask people what they think about the story or ask them to send photos of what people see, for example, when storm is happening outside”, said Herman.

How the Media is Using Storify

1) Twitter Responses to Journalist’s Question
On 9 September 2011, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. Immediately after the quake, The Seattle Times asked a question “did you feel it?” via Twitter, and storified the reactions of people living in the area.

2) Storify as It Happened
The Stream’ is a daily program produced by Al Jazeera which uses social media and citizen journalism content. On 19 October 2012, a car bomb exploded in a neighborhood of Ashrafieh, a Christian neighbourhood in Beirut, Lebanon. The Stream covered the event as it unfolded using Storify. Its chronological coverage combined tweets from journalists, images and videos being uploaded by locals, and tweets in reaction to the death of a former brigadier general, Wissam Hassam.

3) Mix of Multimedia Content to Cover Events on the Ground
The Toronto Star used Storify to cover “what happened on the ground” when a shooting took place outside of the Empire State Building on 25 August, 2012. The story included photos uploaded by people at the site and audio interviews with the witnesses. The story conveyed what it was like to be at the scene where shooting took place.

4) Storytelling with a Human Angle
CBC News took rather different approach to tell the story of the Aurora theater shooting of 20 July, 2012. It followed the twitter conversation between Jessica Redfield, one of the victims and her friends. While this personalised angle could be questioned from a journalistic ethics viewpoint, this is an example of how Storify can be used to tell a personal story.

5) Live Coverage prior to/during Disaster
As we are expecting Hurricane Sandy to land on the East Coast during this week of 29 October 2012, WNYC Radio is using Storify to do live coverage of peoples’ preparations and to bear witness to the storm’s effects. Because of the nature of live coverage, the latest updates are shown on the top, instead of chronological order.

Photo: Storify

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