Teaching Online Journalism

Best social media tools for journalists

What are today’s most popular social media tools? I proposed a short list on the Social Journalism Educators group on Facebook:

You’ll note (if you roll over and read the tooltip) that none of the links above go to the home page for that tool — instead, I have linked to useful articles that can help us understand how journalists use (or can use) each one of these particular tools.

Then others in the Facebook group recommended the following sites and tools:

  1. Audioboo and SoundCloud for recording and sharing audio files (both have mobile apps)
  2. CoveritLive and ScribbleLive for liveblogging
  3. Delicious and Diigo for social bookmarking
  4. Dipity and Intersect for interactive timelines: Timelines in journalism: A closer look
  5. DocumentCloud: A tool for annotating, organizing and publishing primary source documents on the Web
  6. Dropbox for sharing all kinds of files
  7. Facebook: Facebook + Journalists: Getting Started
  8. Flickr for photo sharing and photographer communities (my favorite user is the White House — yes, the real White House)
  9. Foursquare: 7 Ways Journalists Can Use Foursquare
  10. FreeDive: A new data-sharing tool from Knight Digital Media Center (free and open source)
  11. Google+: 5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+
  12. Google Docs for collaborative writing and file sharing
  13. Google tools for data and mapping: Maps, Fusion Tables, Charts — see also LucidChart
  14. Livestream for live streaming video
  15. Path, a mobile app for lifestreaming (“smart journal”)
  16. Scoop.it for curating articles and blog posts about one topic (compare this with Pinterest, Posterous, Tumblr)
  17. SlideShare and Vuvox for embeddable slideshows; Prezi for zooming presentations and collaboration

I do not necessarily agree that all of these are really social media, or popular, or tools — but you can decide for yourself.

No one in the group mentioned LinkedIn.

One person mentioned Blogger. I feel quite strongly that WordPress has so many advantages over Blogger, it’s not worth discussing. Others might disagree. In fact, I know at least a couple of journalism educators who would definitely disagree.

Now I think I need to work on a definition of what I mean when I say “social media.”

(Thanks to Karl Hodge, Robert Quigley and the others in the Social Journalism Educators group who crowdsourced this list.)

Categories: participation, reporting


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  3. Dave says:

    Cool list. But Why Pinterest right now? For journalist isnt it useless at the moment?

  4. @Dave – If you read the linked post (click Pinterest), you will see how journalists can use Pinterest today.

  5. Renaud says:

    You forgot to mention Klynt, such a wonderful tool to edit and publish interactive stories:

  6. @Renaud – even though Klynt has social media hooks (you can share), it’s a production tool, not really a social media tool, in my opinion. But thank you for the link!

  7. Nice list :)

    I agree with you re wordpress vs blogger, but also know others how would strongly disagree.

    Since you’ve included Google Docs for collaborative writing, I’m surprised there is no mention of Etherpad, the free open source real time collaborative editor:


    I think Cowbird might also fit on this list:

  8. Mindy,

    I wasn’t surprised to see that nobody thought LinkedIn belonged on your list – not because it doesn’t, but because it seems so few journalists are aware of what an incredible resource it can be for them.

    Krista Canfield (@kristacanfield) at LinkedIn has made it her personal quest to expose journalists to the many, many ways it can be used for discovering story ideas, finding fresh sources and building your personal brand. I saw a tweet about the free training sessions she offers to working journalists, signed up for it and ended up impressed and inspired by the tips she shared. As a social media producer at azcentral.com and a personal branding blogger, I encouraged reporters, j-school faculty members and students to follow her on Twitter and sign up for her session.

    Here’s the link to her next one: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Next-LinkedIn-Journalists-training-is-3753151.S.96999012?qid=7d622d65-5f92-4ed1-ac9e-b59cf53e6857&goback=%2Egmp_3753151

  9. @Josef Davies-Coates – Thanks! I’ve heard of Etherpad but never used it. I guess that’s because I don’t do much collaborative editing. :(

    I looked at Cowbird a week or two ago. It’s VERY pretty and easy to browse, but I was overwhelmed by the huge amount of content there, and then I didn’t find myself yearning to go back. That may be a mistake. Thank you for posting the link, because I think I should give it another try.

  10. Amy says:

    I’ve started participating in Cowbird and I am loving it. I know what you mean about the overwhelming amount of content but it’s really just a big treasure trove and you can dip in and dip out, choosing stories from among topics that interest you in that very moment. Do give it another try. And great blog!

  11. [...] I can’t remember where I came across Mindy McAdams and why I subscribe to her blog feed, but it’s been worth it. Here’s a great post with a number of handy tools for digital journalists… [...]

  12. Nisha says:

    Take a look at http://whenintime.com. This web application can be very useful to journalists in presenting an interactive timeline for their web articles

  13. [...] Not only do journalists have to adapt to these specific certain rules as a whole, reporters also have to take into consideration the type of social networking site they are taking on and what they need to adapt to in order to be successful with it. For example, journalists who use Twitter might have to follow different rules to get their story across and those who use sites such as Pinterest or Tumblr might have to follow other rules. Reporters definitely have to take into consideration what kind of field they are going into and what types of guidelines they will need to follow in order to make their social networking a success. An article that goes into more depth about this idea is by a Blog on WordPress . [...]

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