By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tracking social media with Storify

Next semester, I plan to devote some time in my Reinventing the News course to using Storify, a tool that lets you search and pull together content from across a wide range of media — news stories, tweets, videos, photos and the like — in order to tell a story.

There’s an art to doing it well, so don’t take my first attempt (below) too seriously. Instead, you should have a look at Josh Stearns’ compilation on journalists who have been arrested at Occupied protests around the country. His piece was just recognized (and justly recognized) as the “Storify Story of the Year.”

I also think Storify works well for breaking news when there’s lots of citizen media to sift through. Here is an example from the Valley Independent Sentinel, in Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley, following a summer storm that moved through the area this past August.

For my first Storify story, I decided to take on the subpoena served on Twitter by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, which could force the social network to reveal the identity of “Guido Fawkes,” whom the Boston police want to question in connection with something (what, exactly, is unclear) that took place in connection with Occupy Boston. Here’s what I came up with:

View the story “”Guido Fawkes” and the secret subpoena” on Storify]

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  1. Larz Neilson

    Good luck on the Storify project. I’m sure there’s some stuff there, but man, wear your waders. But if you have the time and ability to sort thru all the comments, you might just find a nugget that could lead somewhere. It could even be big. I’ll be watching with interest.

  2. Stephen Stein

    1. It looks like Storify doesn’t play well (yet?) with Google Reader, which gives me a link to just the Storify story within your post, instead of a link to your post itself. Following the Reader link gives me a story-not-found error on your site. Don’t know if that’s a Reader error or a WordPress error or a little bit of both.

    2. Why does the subpoena strike you as a First Amendment violation? If BPD was doing this just to harass a #OWS protester, would it pass judicial “show cause” muster? (I’m more upset that the subpoena itself was secret.)

    3. Happy New Year! Thanks for another year of insightful and interesting stories. I’m sure 2012 will be full of column fodder (among other things)!

    • Dan Kennedy

      Stephen: And thank you for your insightful and interesting comments.

  3. Stephen Stein

    Ah, the actual blog post (that contains the Storify story) just showed up on the Google Reader feed.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Stephen: There was a misfire the first time I tried to post it.

  4. L.K. Collins

    Storify has the same problems as any other internet-based,crowd-sourced attempt at journalism:

    It is highly susceptible to misinformation, disinformation, and manipulation.

    I also suspect that it will be as insignificant a tool as the one Dan touted last year, Google Maps.

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