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Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Which Tweet Wins? See If You Can You Out-Predict A Computer

If you work in social media, or any online media site really, for very long, you learn that it’s hard to predict which post or piece of content will go viral. That doesn’t stop people from trying.

The latest attempt? The New York Times has the details on a collaboration by three computer scientists who developed an algorithm that, with relative accuracy, can tell you which of two tweets to the same content by the same user will more likely be reshared. This is how those developers explain their project:

… [W]e take advantage of the surprising fact that there are many pairs of tweets containing the same url and written by the same user but employing different wording. Given such pairs, we ask: which version attracts more retweets? This turns out to be a more difficult task than predicting popular topics. Still, humans can answer this question better than chance (but far from perfectly), and the computational methods we develop can do better than an average human …

How is that possible? A huge body of data to pull from. In A/B tests, it predicts which tweet will be more popular correctly 67 percent of the time, compared to the 61 percent of tweets more likely to be retweeted that humans guess correctly, according to the NYT. Before you get too depressed, read the full article to see why your computer won’t be replacing you or your social community manager anytime soon.

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Then just for fun: The NYT’s The Upshot takes this idea one step farther and put together this fascinating 25 question gut check to see if YOU can beat their algorithm and predict with more success whether one tweet will go viral or one tweet will go silent.

It’s harder than it sounds! I got 15 vs. the computer’s 19. So what do you get?

RebelMouse Gets A Makeover

RebelMouseI’ve written about RebelMouse here before — it’s always been a pretty useful tool for curating your various social media accounts. But it’s entering new territory now. Publishers will have the chance to not only aggregate all their content but also use the platform to increase the impact of their viral stories and become a vital part of the social conversation.

Brands and media companies alike are constantly trying the crack the Facebook algorithm code plus keep up with the ebbs and flows of various social network popularity. RebelMouse founder Paul Berry (formerly head of technology at the Huffington Post) and his team are giving pubs a place to combine all their social happenings and create original content.

“RebelMouse is now a content management and distribution platform with comprehensive blogging and original authoring tools to make your content creation process as seamless as possible,” Berry wrote on RebelMouse’s blog.

As Capital New York‘s Johana Bhuiyan wrote, this move may make it competitive with blogging and CMS platform Medium. Animal lover website The Dodo was created entirely with RebelMouse, and it has seen incredible traffic figures because of RebelMouse’s capability of linking back to social media.

Read more

Why Are Only 60% of Journalists on Twitter?

ajr.jpgCan we talk about something? It looks like 2008 is calling and they want their newsrooms back. The American Journalism Review posted a piece this week with the headline “Some Newspapers to Staff: Social Media Isn’t Optional, It’s Mandatory.”

Everyone take a deep breath. It’s not totally ridiculous: The piece, written by Mary Ann Fischer, discusses the various ways newsrooms get editors and reporters on social media, how it’s hard to call it “mandatory,” and how social media guidelines should be “living breathing documents.”

All true.

Also, Dean Baquet hasn’t tweeted yet. But that’s not the worst of it. Fischer writes:

 Nearly 60 percent of journalists were on Twitter in 2013, according to a survey done by Oriella PR Network. San Francisco Chronicle managing editor Audrey Cooper said the lack of social media activity is more pronounced among print journalists. “If you look at your average newspaper editor, they don’t have thousands of followers like the editors of BuzzFeed,” she said. “As a group we tend to have not embraced digital media as much. That’s not good or bad, but it does raise the question of how do you perform in that space if you’re not a user of digital media.”

I just don’t know what to say aside from, hey, print people: It’s time to quit the boycott.

Read more

Social Journalism Hackathon Underway at RJI, #RJIhacks

hackbanner01_6Interested in hacking social journalism? The Reynold’s Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism is hosting a Hackathon event “[tackling] challenge questions that seek to discover new tools, business models and news services that deliver context-rich, real-time social journalism to users across digital platforms” this weekend.

While the happenings Saturday and Sunday are for a limited audience in San Francisco, anyone following the toughest aspects of hacking the future of journalism can keep up with the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #RJIhacks. Attendees will be pitching their innovations, and workshops covering the PMP API, Google Research and Visualization, the Wayin API and the Chute API fill the Hackathon schedule.

For more information on RJI’s Social Journalism Hackathon, click here.

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