Data Mining: Snapbird

Use:  find historical tweets to add context to or background for a news story

Snapbird is a free tool that allows you to search your own tweets or other users’ timelines for specific information.  In addition, you can search yours or other users’ favorites, tweets, mentions, direct messages you’ve sent and direct messages you’ve received. Select the search function, type in a Twitter username and a keyword, and Snapbird will list all messages that contain that keyword.

Previously, I wrote about Topsy, another Twitter search engine that allows you to search Twitter history by tweets, links, photos, videos and influencers.  But, unlike Snapbird, it does not allow you to search by specific Twitter user.

More: Tool for journalist: Snapbird, for searching Twitter Snap Bird: The Best Way to Search Beyond Twitter’s History

thenextweb: Snap Bird helps find old tweets and messages by going where Twitter Search can’t: months back




Content Development: Storehouse

Use:  develop stories for readers or advertisers by aggregating content from various sites and service

Storehouse is a storytelling iPad app that allows you to upload and combine content from Flickr, Instagram, your Dropbox or your iOS camera roll.  Content can include text, photos and videos.

The app provides an easy-to-use and intuitive editing tool to manipulate content elements into a cohesive story.

Other similar story creation tools covered in this blog include Videolicious, Creatavist, Soo Meta,

In addition to news or human interest stories, you can use Storehouse to develop content for advertisers, such as an aggregation of on-sale apparel at Macy’s or tours of new homes for realtors.


VentureBeat: Meet Storehouse, the visual narrative app that wants to tell your story Journalists can use Storehouse to build media-rich stories

Sfgate: Storehouse creates game-changing visual storytelling app





Social Media: Dataminr

Use:  Identifying newsworthy topics on Twitter

Dataminr is the latest tool for journalists to mine Twitter’s firehose of information for newsworthy leads.  I’ve shared on this blog other similar social media discovery tools , including NewsWhip Spike, Geofeedia, Facebook Conversations and CrowdyNews. (This site, although a bit dated, lists a range of news discovery tools and services).

Developed jointly with CNN and Twitter, Dataminr allows journalists to “set targeted alerts for certain types of breaking information that are then delivered automatically via application, email, pop-up, even instant message, depending on a user’s preference. Dataminr for News can be customized depending on a user’s particular topics of interest and regions of focus. Dataminr for News can also be directly integrated into existing internal client systems.”

The tool has not yet launched and no indication, yet, on when it will be available.


re/code: Breaking News from Twitter: There’s Breaking News on Twitter

TechCrunch:  CNN And Twitter Partner With Dataminr To Create News Tool For Journalists

Social Media: Verification Tools

Use:  Verify sources of social media content to ensure veracity

In an earlier post, I shared information on Verification Junkie, a site that aggregates tools to help journalists assess the veracity of sources and information on social media sites.  (For a good source of case studies and best practices on social media verification, click here.)

Here are couple of new (and old) tools that allow journalists to verify if a source is real by identifying that person’s presence on multiple social networks.

Pipl helps verify if information posted is from a real person.  Users can search by name, user name, e-mail address, phone number and location.  (Source: Tool for journalists: Pipl, for verifying social media sources).

Identify is a Firefox plug-in that has been around since at least 2009 that will automatically gather information from across the Web from a page associated to a specific person (any page that has the tag rel=”me”).  The plug-in is invoked by clicking the control key and the “i” key.  It is not available for Firefox version 26.0 (so I was unable to test it).  (Source:  Identify: Google People With Two Keystrokes).

Falcon is a similar plug-in that works on Chrome browsers.  I was able to test this one and it’s pretty cool.  I plugged in the facebook URL of a friend and its showed me his location, various e-mail accounts, identities on Google+, Quora, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Klout and Aboutme. However,  I tried it with my Facebook URL but it did not identify my Gmail, Twitter, Instagram,or Google+ accounts. (It doesn’t work, yet, for LinkedIn). Plus it identified my location as New York rather than Virginia.  But if the goal is to make sure the user is authentic, Falcon appears to work.


InformaCam, while not a verification tool for third-parties, does provide users with the ability to provide identifying information in their photos.  Available for android devices, the tool allows users to attach a variety of metadata to pictures and video, including GPS coordinates, time stamps, compass bearings, etc.  As developer Nathan Freitas says: it creates “a digital snapshot of the environment in which the photo or video was taken.” (Source: InformaCam Beta Preview: New Open Source Tool Helps Verify Citizen Media).

Update 1/23/14Free book to help journalists “get a handle” on verification

Video: Using Short Video for News

Use: Capitalize on the growing use of short videos such as Vine and Instagram to report news

Short video services Vine and Instagram have seen meteoric growth this past year.  Instagram’s mobile app grew 66 percent (the most of any app in 2013) and now 31.9 million active monthly unique users (out of total user base of 150 million worldwide). Nearly 180,000 Instagram videos have been shared on Twitter.  Vine, meanwhile, has north of 40 million registered users and one research study reported that five Vine videos are shared every second on Twitter. (Facebook owns Instagram and Twitter owns Vine.)

This rapid growth and integration into media consumption behavior (particularly for younger generations), suggests that news organizations should be experimenting with short video to reach those audience segments.  And many are.   Following are some resources, including tips and examples,  to help you think about your short video strategy.

Storyful: Instagram’s accidental foray into news video

All Things D: All the News That Fits in a 15-Second Segment: NowThisNews Tries Instagram, and the Results Are Pretty Interesting

ABC News: What Instagram Video Means for News Coverage

Instagram Blog:  News on Instagram

RJI: Futures Lab update #37: Apps and tips for mobile reporting

Mediashift: How Journalists Can Use Vine

Poynter: Newsrooms use Vine to show personality, process, previews in 6-second videos

Business Insider: How Media Outlets Are Using Vine To Deliver The News — Some Better Than Others

Social Media: NewsWhip Spike

Use:  Identify conversations or stories with a local angle that are trending on social media sites

On my previous post, I share information on Geofeedia, a tool to search social media sites for activity related to a specific locality.  NewsWhip Spike is a similar tool that tracks “social signals” identifying hot stories or popular conversations and allows publishers to narrow the search to specific regions.  So far, the service features 50 U.S. cities as well as cities and regions in Canada, Germany and the UK.

According to an article on “Stories are ranked by ‘social velocity’ how much and how fast it is trending on socSocial Media: NewsWhip Spikeial media, categorised into time periods of the last hour, three hours, 12 hours or 24 hours. The locales featured on Spike are chosen by regional importance or population density as “you need a metro market to be a certain size before you have much local press.”

As with Geofeedia, NewsWhip Spike could be a helpful tool for journalists to surface local stories they are unaware of or track how and which published stories are trending.  It could also be useful to help advertisers track stories that contain their brand.

More: NewsWhip launches local function for social search tool NewsWhip Spike: A powerful tool to monitor news sources

Social Media: Geofeedia

Use: Search content by location across social media networks to surface interesting local stories, commentary,  sources and content

Geofeedia is a Web-based application that allows media publishers to search social media activity by location across Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and Picassa.   According to Geofeedia: “Once you create a Geofeed – by simply entering an address or drawing a boundary around a location on a map – you can search, monitor and analyze all social media activity from that location.”  The search can be refined with additional filters such as source, date, keyword and hashtag.

The data collected can be archived so you can track trends or tie activity to a particular past event.  Journalists can use the tool to uncover and curate relevant content for a particular location.   Sales executives can use the tool to pin down sentiments about a particular retailer by store location.

Geofeedia offers a 24-hour pass for $49 and special plans for events


ijnet: How newsrooms can use Geofeedia to curate social media by location

Poynter: Geofeedia helps journalists locate real-time photos, tweets where news breaks

iRevolution: Geofeedia: Next Generation Crisis Mapping Technology?



Social Media: Twitter Custom Timelines

Use:  Curate Tweets into a custom story for users

Twitter’s Custom Timelines allows publishers to create custom feeds by curating various Tweets into one stream.   The custom timeline can be created manually or automatically through Twitter’s API and embedded into your Web site or be a standalone page with a unique URL.  The feature will be available initially on TweetDeck, Twitter’s social media management app.

Publishers can use custom timelines to create a chronological re-telling of recent news story, aggregate comments about local personalities or events, promote a range of Web site or offline content, compare conflicting statements from politicians, etc.  They can also use the product to assemble endorsements from various people for a particular advertiser or integrate sponsored posts into one stream.


The Next Web: Twitter announces ‘Custom Timelines’, lets users curate collections of tweets on any subject

Mashable: How to Create and Embed Your Own Custom Timeline on Twitter

TechCrunch: Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too

Content Development: Google Tour Builder

Use:  Create compelling story timelines integrating Google Earth locations

Google Tour Builder is an experimental product from Google that allows publishers to create timelines of stories and integrate Google Earth map locations.   For example, ABC correspondent Bob Woodruff illustrates his journey to the Middle East, where he was injured in Iraq, to various medical facilities, back home and then to a benefit concert in 2012.

The service, which requires a Google Map plug-in, walks you through the creation of your tour which can be shared with specificaudiences or posted in Google’s gallery.  Stories can include a mix of text and images.

This could be a great tool for illustrating stories with a timeline and a range of locations, for example the Boston Red Sox story from pre-season to the World Series. Or providing a gallery of local readers to capture interesting travel stories.


ReadWrite: Drop A Pin, Tell A Story With Google’s New ‘Tour Builder’ Tool

Engadget: Google Earth Tour Builder lets you tell stories through maps

TheNextWeb: Tour Builder: Google wants you to tell your stories using Google Earth



Content Development: Google Media Tools

Use: Leverage Google tools to create new content and products

Google Media Tools aggregates all of Google’s various tools for media companies in one location.  The site is organized by categories (Gather and Organize, Publish, Engage, Develop and Visualize) and includes 27 “tools” such as Advance Search, Google Consumer Surveys, Google Analytics, Google Maps Engine and Google Charts.   YouTube, Google+, Google News and other Google properties are also considered tools for journalists.