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6 Ways Journalists Can Find Sources on Twitter

Discover those hidden voices in social media to add to your reporting

By Brent Yarnell - August 2, 2011

Millions of Twitter users span the globe; odds are that a bunch of them have valuable input for your news story. The trick is sorting through the noise to isolate the relevant tweeters.

Sometimes it's as simple as asking, says Jason DeRusha, who frequently solicits his Twitter followers to contribute to his "Good Question" pieces on WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

"People like to see themselves on TV," he explains. Twitter, like other social media channels, is great for medical, lifestyle and technology stories, he says, or "anything where I'm looking for someone who's gone through something, looking for that personal connection."

Other times, reporters must hunt down sources. Often during conflicts or massive uprisings, such as those now rocking the Middle East and North Africa, citizens tweet to spread the word. "They're kind of circumventing the fact that they can't use traditional media to get information out of the country," says Reuters' social media editor Anthony De Rosa.

Yet, it is precisely those times that the social media sphere is bloated with content from (pun intended) unreliable sources, compelling journalists to sift smartly through the outpouring of messages....

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