Thursday, March 24, 2016

Many reliable sources exist for journalists using the Internet and social media for stories

The digital age provides a wealth of informational for journalists, but learning how to weed through all the misinformation to find reliable sources is the key, John Wihbey reports for Journalist's Resource. "A variety of tools—and a growing community and subfield—have sprouted up to encourage more targeted and powerful verification of information. It is also worth knowing a bit about the sharing, conversation and viral patterns that social scientists typically see online."

"It is not always easy to monitor the Web traffic flowing to a given third-party site, and having access to server data and a tool like Google Analytics is the most valid way of doing that," Wihbey writes. "Perhaps the best-known analytics firm that measures web traffic and ranks sites is comScore, but there are several other commercial firms that can help make estimates and allow basic/introductory analysis for free," such as (an Amazon company that can help analyze traffic patterns and other metrics) and (which makes estimates of unique visitors freely available). 

"In terms of social media tools, there are a variety of competing sites that allow you to do such things as track hashtags, search for mentions of certain terms and places and to even limit searches to certain geographical areas," Wihbey writes. "SocialMention monitors user-generated content across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and dozens more. You also can get measures of sentiment, reach and other analyses of patterns. allows you to analyze specific terms, hashtags, URLs and more and to also get data on patterns across the Web. You can see the reach of information, timelines relating to posts and much more." Other tools include Twilert (provides real-time alerts), Twiangulate (shows common followers among user handles and analyzes hidden relationships), HashTracking (insights on hashtag patterns) and Who Tweeted It First (tracks the original source of memes and messages). (SocialMention statistics using the keyword Appalachia)

Other useful sources include BuzzSumo (helps assess most shared content and related trends), SocialRank (figures out patterns among your followers on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram), GramFeed (conducts and manages searches among Instagram photos) and Google Trends (reveals search traffic around certain keywords on the Web and YouTube). (Read more)

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