Reflections on news curation using Storify

Storify header

What happens when a witty tweet, a striking Instagram post and an inspiring YouTube video all share the same school of thought? Well until 2011, they may have remained lost or disconnected from one another amid the sea of other posts on their respective social media platforms. Now thanks to Storify, such posts can be collated together and combined with the creator’s own comments to form a well-rounded piece that serves as an original and newsworthy story in its own right. In light of my own Storify activity, this blog post will reflect on how I used the site to curate news and what I gained from doing so.

Unfamiliar with the platform, I wanted to find out how journalists were using it. In an attempt to do this, Journalism.co.uk curated a piece on Storify itself, drawing together supporting tweets and embed links. With further research, I found that media organisations such as the BBC and The Guardian were making use of the platform and proceeded to follow them. You can view my Storify here.

When I began using the editing function, I found merit in Storify’s ability to leverage content from a wide range of sources as it means a piece will be more varied and informed. However, gathering the various elements proved difficult initially: I was unable to find tweets older than 10 days old and had to scroll down an entire list of tweets/instagram posts from the most recent which was frustrating when trying to find specific posts. Consequently, I began to make use of the embed URL tool; I found the specific elements I wanted to use externally and then imported them as an embed link.

Two of the stories I curated on Storify were on personal interests that had been in the news recently: feminist activism on social networks and the recent events in fracking news. This is because I knew where to source relevant elements on social media that would fit together well and produce an interesting story. I then began experimenting with curating a story based on breaking news events that were unfolding. I did so by collating tweets from trending topics on Twitter: Bill Cosby’s first charge and the ‘Clean for the Queen‘ campaign. I found this immediate curation to be far easier as I didn’t need to search for past posts. It was also more useful as it reflected the fast-paced response that journalists have to make when reporting on breaking news.

On completion of a story, I found publishing and promoting it to be quick and simple due to the platform’s integration of other sites. I was easily able to share my stories on Twitter, where I have a larger following, to attract a wider audience and found the feature of notifying those I’d mentioned to be effective in generating more interest.

Since using Storify, I’ve noticed that many online media organisations create news stories on their websites that are curated in a similar way. They may even use Storify as part of their content management system (CMS) as the developers of Storify have come up with a way of integrating the Storify editor into CMS applications. My experience of using Storify will therefore prove useful should I be successful in my hope of becoming a digital journalist in the future.

In reflection, I’ve learnt the value of selecting content to curate an informative story that employs different types of media that can be shared seamlessly. As well as developing the ability to curate a story as a quick-reaction to breaking news, I now have knowledge of software that is likely to be comparable to the software used by media organisations. Overall, I feel my news curation experience on Storify has given me skills that will transfer well into my future career.

Header image by Chloe D’Costa.

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