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Facebook + Journalism 101Facebook + Journalism 101 Academia could be more social. So recently, I setup a Facebook Group for "Social Journalism Educators" to be able to connect and share resources around how they are teaching...

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My Next Chapter: Facebook JournalismMy Next Chapter: Facebook Journalism This was originally posted on my Facebook Page. Also, read CNN's coverage of my new role. ------ I am honored to announce that I will be joining Facebook as Journalist...

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Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS] Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook... This is an excerpt of analysis I recently wrote on Mashable about how our Twitter users interact with our content vs. those on Facebook. The result: Facebook's click-per-share...

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Facebook & Its Growing Role in Social JournalismFacebook & Its Growing Role in Social Journalism This is an excerpt from a post I recently reported for Mashable.com. Read the full piece here. A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The...

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New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the CommunityNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community For someone just starting out on Twitter, the social information network can be intimidating. It has its own language, limitations, and features that are very unique to the...

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Vadim Lavrusik Rss

#HurricaneSandy told through Instagram Photos

Posted on : 29-10-2012 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Instagram, Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools

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This is embedded stream of #hurricanesandy using a tool called Snapwidget, which easily enables you to embed a stream of photos from Instagram onto your website:


Excerpt: Investigative Journalism in the Age of the Social Web

Posted on : 24-11-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools, Trends

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This is an excerpt of my most recent feature on Mashable.com. Read it in full here.

Investigative JournalismIn a society that is more connected than ever, investigative journalists that were once shrouded in mystery are now taking advantage of their online community relationships to help scour documents and uncover potential wrongs. The tools and information now available to journalists are making the jobs of investigative outlets more efficient.

The socialization of the web is revolutionizing the traditional story format. Investigative reporters are now capturing content shared in the social space to enrich their stories, enabling tomorrow’s reporters to create contextualized social story streams that reference not only interviewed sources, but embedded tweets, Facebook postings and more. Journalists are also leveraging the vast reach of social networks in unprecedented ways. In many respects, social media is enabling watchdog journalism to prosper. Here’s how.


Distributed Reporting


On the social web, investigative journalists are tapping citizens to take part in the process by scouring documents and doing shoe-leather reporting in the community. This is advantageous because readers often know more than journalists do about a given subject, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

“That was always the case, but with the tools that we have today, that knowledge can start flowing in at relatively low cost and with relatively few headaches,” Rosen said. Rosen admits that we are just starting to learn how to do this effectively, but there are certainly some great experiments being done.

Talking Points Memo Muckraker had success with this approach by having its readers help sort through thousands of documents pertaining to the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s controversial firing of seven United States attorneys in 2006. TPM provided clear instructions to its readers to cite specific documents that included something interesting or “damning.”

Even though they had hundreds of readers contribute in the comments, it’s important to remember the often invisible factors that contribute to that success. The site’s readers had a shared background knowledge because they had been following the story as Josh Marshall and his team developed it over months of reporting. They were also motivated to show that the attorney general had done something wrong, Rosen pointed out.

A similar example on a grander scale is that of The Guardian deploying its community to help dig through 458,832 members of parliament (MP’s) expense documents. They’ve already examined roughly half of those, thanks to the 27,270 people who participated. The Guardian rewarded community participants by creating a leader board based on the quantity and quality of their contributions and also highlighting some of the great finds by its members.

Read it in full here.

Why the Tablet won’t save the print industry

Posted on : 17-01-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Tools

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Update: My friend and colleague Shane Snow has a funny comic on this same topic.

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have seen several articles calling Apple’s Tablet the “savior” of print media and similar prophetic names. However, I am still somewhat skeptical that the Tablet will have a substantial difference in helping the print industry. I want to outline a few reasons why I think it could help, but also why I am quite skeptical.

Battle of the toolbars: NYPost vs. MSNBC

Posted on : 29-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Design, Tools

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Update: Just came across Washington Post’s Post Alert, which popups on the bottom of the browser for big stories.

Today I went to the NYPost.com and noticed that their top-of-the-page toolbar moved as you scrolled down (or rather stays in the foreground, as Greg Linch pointed out). I think this was an interesting idea and implementation for a news site and asked my Twitter friends what they thought of it. Below is some of the feedback that took place, along with someone pointing out MSNBC’s toolbar, which rests at the bottom of the page.

Check out both of the implementations above and let me know what you think in the poll below or comments. I think that overall it is a good idea as long as it doesn’t ruin or distract the reader in their experience of navigating the site. It should be a useful tool.

Tips, tools to keep your Twits organized and noise to a minimum

Posted on : 31-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Tools, Twitter

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twitterTwitter is continuing to grow and sometimes it is difficult to keep the noise down. It can be an effective approach to follow everyone back that is following you. For example, it allows your followers to direct message you if they need to contact you and generally keeps accessibility and communication open. And I have been frustrated at times trying to contact someone on Twitter through a direct message but unable to because they weren’t following me (also an ever so subtle blow to whatever ego I have).

However, I myself don’t follow everyone back simply to keep the noise level on Twitter down. Technology blogger Robert Scoble recently unfollowed more than 100,000 people to start from scratch. It stopped his spam and he was able to start building a quality community.

I try to follow people that share similar interests and that add value to my network and the information I am receiving from them. While some use Twitter as a way to connect with their friends, I use Twitter as a way to soak in information from users that have similar interests in social media, journalism, technology and more. Yes, this does mean that I don’t always follow even my friends back. I keep up with my friends on Facebook. Twitter is a social broadcasting tool that I can use to see what exactly is the buzz during any given moment. It is a social RSS, a place where I can have a discussion about issues in technology and how it’s changing our social interactions and especially the journalism industry I am a part of.

There are some great tools out there that I have used to keep track of my Twitter followers and those I am following. There are also some common practices that each user should get used to, at least for now. I came across this great post on Mashable today about tools to analyze your Tweets, and there are definitely some useful ones on the list, which I will mention. Here are just a few tips I have gathered along the way (this of course is not exhaustive by any means, but perhaps still helpful):

1. Use Untweeps.com – This site allows you to connect to your Twitter account and filter the users you are following who are stale in activity. For example, you can select the option for Untweeps to filter only the people you are following who have not tweeted for the last 15 days or 20 days or 26. Whatever amount of days for you is far too long for a user to go without activity, you can have Untweeps reveal those users. You then have the option to unfollow these people. Some of these may be people that you value in your network, and you can opt out to uncheck them from the list of people you are unfollowing. I, however, like to follow users who are active and are constantly going to provide me with useful information and are always in the know. I use this tool regularly and you will find that it can trim down the number you are following by quite a bit. You can also use the tool to track who you have blocked, and more. Twitoria is another similar tool, but only shows those that are inactive.

2. Try Twitterless – This is a tool that gives you an update regularly of how many people have started following you and has stopped following you. You get a list of users that stopped following you. Unfortunately, the site is in beta and so it is difficult to know why they are unfollowing you, but still a helpful resource to track your network. It also graphs your history over time. Qwitter is another similar app that is supposed to notify you when someone stops following you as well as the tweet that may have caused it, but I have found it unreliable in notifying me.

3. Tweet Blocker – This is a great tool in blocking the spammers that are on Twitter, and now boasts having blocked more than 70,000 spam accounts. Twitter has been known to purge a lot of spam accounts all at once. So if you notice that you have lost a huge amount of followers, it is likely because they were all spam accounts. Tweet Blocker allows you to login and grades your followers – a lot of the times the accounts that are given an F, are in fact spammers. Other times they are just new users that haven’t tweeted much yet. If you don’t want to mass purge, you should at least try to keep up with your followers and if they appear to be spam – then block them. They aren’t helping your network. And remember, it’s not all about the numbers. It’s about the quantity of followers, but the quality.TweetBlocker

4. Use Columns in TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc.: This might seem like a simple thing, but is often an underutilized feature in these third-party apps that allow you to organize your network into columns. For example, you can have a general column, a column for what your colleagues are saying, a column for friends, etc.

5. Search for Twits by location and check on their grades: There are several ways of doing this. Of course, I don’t expect you to spend all your time checking all your twits’ grades in Twitter Grader, but the tool is useful. If anything, it is helpful in allowing you to determine who the big players are in your location as well. There are other location-based Twitter directories and searches like LocalTweeps, which allows you to search by zip. Or if you are simply curious about what’s being talked about in your location and would like to connect with some twits, check out NearbyTweets, which is more automated and visually appealing. These are especially useful for twits in a new location.

Update: ReFollowHere is a great site that has a lot of functionality that Jim Santori, publisher of the Mankato Free Press (Minnesota), pointed me to. I like the visual layout and the site gives you a lot of options to keep those you are following and those following you organized.

Using CoveritLive for live chats, tracking twitter feeds and more

Posted on : 29-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools, Twitter

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I have seen it used many times before, but have never implemented it myself. I know the concept behind CoveritLive, a free and easy to use service that allows you to integrate a live chat onto your site or blog.

It also allows you to do much more, such as aggregating tweets. Greg Linch, an online intern @Dallas_News and new media brainchild for journalism, used it today to aggregate tweets from the Personal Democracy Forum 2009 in his blog. I figured I would give it a try by testing the service my self and aggregating the same feed (sorry if I stole the idea, Greg, but I needed something timely).

A look at how journalism schools are teaching social media

Posted on : 19-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools

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Excerpt from my post from Mashable.com today.

With news organizations beginning to create special positions to manage the use of social media tools, such as the recently appointed social editor at The New York Times, journalism schools are starting to recognize the need to integrate social media into their curricula.

That doesn’t mean having a class on Facebook or Twitter, which many college students already know inside and out, but instead means that professors are delving into how these tools can be applied to enrich the craft of reporting and producing the news and ultimately telling the story in the best possible way.

And though many professors are still experimenting and learning how these tools can be used, here are are the 10 ways journalism schools are currently teaching students to use social media. Please share in the comments others that you have found to be important and effective as well.

Read my full post on Mashable.com.

Using Dropbox in the newsroom, as a mojo

Posted on : 08-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Tools

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Dropbox user site with recent activityThough it publicly debuted in September and boasts 1 million users, I recently stumbled across Dropbox through a friend on Facebook. Dropbox, whose slogan is “secure backup, sync and sharing made easy,” is doing just that. Making your life easier in backing up files and being able to access them from anywhere through the Web.

It is like a 2G flash drive (2G is the free amount of space that it comes with, additional space can be bought or obtained through referrals of friends) that you don’t have to carry around or worry about losing or connecting to your computer. It also works with Windows, Macs and Linux. The Web account also shows you all your recent activity, allows you to access all your content and download it. But what I want to talk about is how journalists and newsrooms can use this as a tool.

GizaPage allows you to organize your social media connections

Posted on : 04-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Tools

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Most media, marketing and web professionals have multiple social media connections. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the above industries to be connected through various streams on the web. Organizing your Facebook profile, Twitter feed, LinkedIn, etc., can be quite challenging at times, especially when trying to share all of them simultaneously via your e-mail signature.

Do you include all of the links? Usernames? What is the best practice? Some marketing and PR folks include only their Twitter profile name because that is what they use most often. Not a bad idea. But what about providing a way to connect with people that use other social media more regularly or don’t use Twitter at all. Well, you get the point.

Facebook news application source code open to college news sites

Posted on : 02-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools

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faceboookdailyNewsCloud, which developed the Minnesota Daily Facebook application and HotDish, is offering the source code to other college papers interested in customizing it and managing it themselves. (Disclaimer: I was editor of the Daily when we launched the application.)

The application allows users to post links to articles that they find interesting and rewards them for doing so. Users also get points for engaging the content in other ways, such as sharing it with their friends, commenting on it, etc. The user is rewarded with points that add up to prizes that the news organization offers.