Note: These screencasts can be toggled into fullscreen mode for easier viewing.
This week’s screencast is about using RSS for journalism and reporting.
We use Google Reader to demonstrate how RSS and RSS feed readers can be a powerful journalism tool. RSS feeds and feed readers can allow journalists to easily monitor a lot of disparate news sources. It’s much easier to use a tool like Google Reader to monitor information on the Web than it is to use Web browser bookmarks or to manually typing in URLs.
This video goes over:
- How to add find RSS feeds
- How to add RSS subscriptions to Reader
- How to use Reader’s more advanced features
- The power of searching within Reader
- And much more
Our previous screencasts can be found here.
This screencast goes over how I use Twitter for reporting.
This is not a beginner video, but many newcomers to Twitter will be able to watch this and quickly understand what is going on. In the future, we will have a beginner video and more advanced videos, but we first wanted to create a video that shows how Twitter can be a useful reporting tool.
This video goes over:
- Why I use Twitter for reporting
- The importance of a good profile
- The value of search.twitter.com
- Desktop clients like TweetDeck
- How to get an RSS feed of a search term
- And more
This is our second screencast video. You can find our first about Publish2 here. Both of these are pilots, and we would greatly appreciate any feedback.
Do I really want to find out what someone is eating for lunch? Won’t Twitter just increase the noise in my life? How can anything meaningful be said in 140 characters or less?
These are all questions I’ve heard. My response: avoid Twitter at your own peril. Twitter and other social networks are helping to redefine beat reporting.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying new tools like Twitter. I’m going to try to convince you to give Twitter the old, college try.
Here is what Twitter can help journalists and content creators with:
- Find sources – Twitter is a great place to meet potential sources. The more public and accessible a person is, the more likely a potential source is to volunteer information. Dave Levinthal of The Dallas Morning New said this about beat blogging and social media, “all the sudden you’re a conduit for information and tips.” You do want information and tips, don’t you?
- Discover stories – I’m always discovering people to interview for stories. How? I only follow journalists and people writing about social media and Web tools with the @MsBeat Twitter account. I get a constant stream of information that helps me do my job. I also have a search of “beat blogging” in my Tweetdeck and Summizer programs. This allows me to track every time “beat blogging” is mentioned. In fact, search.twitter.com is an incredible tool for searching on a topic or event. It’s great for getting people’s thoughts in real time.
- Connect with people — Twitter is not just all about finding sources and discovering stories. It’s also about connecting with people. Twitter is home to some very thoughtful conversations. #hashtags are a good warning that something bigger is going on. Twitter can help you think about new topics and get mental juices flowing while you discuss and debate topics in real time.
- Crowd source — Because I’ve connected with people and built a good network on Twitter, I am able to ask questions like, “Does your newsroom offer social media training?” and get meaningful answers. These answers directly lead to content. Oh, and more content.
Don’t just take my word for it. Michelle Nicolosi on Print to Online answers the question, “Why bother with Twitter,” with some convincing arguments:
One payoff, if you respond to people’s tweets and get to know them, is that you get to meet cool people you might not have met before, and you get to be a part of important local and national conversations you never could have otherwise been a part of.
If it wasn’t for Twitter, I can’t imagine how I would have ended up exchanging notes with King County executive Ron Sims. Mark’s been chatting with Mavis Staples’ recording label about what a rip off it is that she didn’t perform at the inaugural.
In ways you can’t imagine until you start to use it, Twitter opens doors, helps you make new connections, and keep track of conversations in new ways. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to give it a month. No, it’s not for everyone, and in the end you might decide you don’t like it. But then again, you might be surprised at the unexpected coolness of it.
Twitter’s been great on a professional front too. I’ve met a bunch of people in the journalism and blogging community I never would have met, and keep up with what they’re all thinking and saying to each other. Sure, I could read their blogs, but my Google Reader is maxed out, and who has the time to read lengthy essays? This is the ultimate in MTV-generation short attention span theater — every thought is an elevator pitch, just 140 characters in length. Who doesn’t have time to read two sentences?
True, as you note, you can follow many people on their blogs, but not everyone. Many non-bloggers are on Twitter, so Twitter is the only place you’re going to hear their thoughts.
Note: This is a pilot in a new series we are developing. Your feedback would be much appreciated. How do you like the content? How is the video format? What should we improve?
Link journalism is becoming a big part of modern journalism, and this video should help you get started with one of our favorite social bookmarking sites, Publish2. BeatBlogging.Org has two Publish2 groups that you are welcome to join, Beat Blogging and Beat Blogging Tools.
This screencast will help you understand:
- The sign-up and approval process.
- The different ways to link on Publish2.
- How to install the Publish2 toolbar.
- How to utilize Publish2 groups.
- How to nominate beat reporters to our Publish2 group.