Featured Posts

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

Vadim Lavrusik Rss

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Sources going direct: FDNY and the Hudson River air collision

Posted on : 08-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Trends, Video

Tags: , , , , , ,

A small plane and a tourist helicopter collided over the Hudson River in lower Manhattan today. Though Twitter played a big role like it often does with breaking news coverage, this time some of the best coverage of the breaking event was from the source itself: the Fire Department.

The FDNY has a live video stream and coverage of the rescue efforts that allowed those who tuned in to listen and watch updates from the air and comment real-time in a “shoutbox.” Sure the New York Times and Fox News were updating their breaking stories  on their websites, however, the traditional news reports often lagged behind. Why? They were relying on the facts from the source, who itself was reporting on their live video feed, garnering more than 300 viewers.

As a journalist, I have to ask myself, is this a trend that is going to continue in the future and will it replace the role of journalists? I think not, mostly because professional reporters are trained to get the details and provide it in a coherent way, which was often lost in the jargon of the FDNY feed.

Also, I will add that the NYTimes and other news sources offered much more context in their stories and eventually included a video and photos of the rescue scene. But this live feed is a good example of how sources are playing a role in reporting themselves, and most of the time they have much more access than reporters do:

FDNY Live Radio

Kudos to Joey Baker for pointing this out via Twitter.

Who said journalism is dying?

Posted on : 14-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Newspapers, Trends

Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo credit: <a href=

Maybe I have just learned to ignore the depressing news of the thousands of layoffs at newspapers and other news organizations across the nation and begun to pay more attention to the bright spots in journalism. There are journalism jobs being created what seems like every day.

The advice I have given to myself constantly, and will offer it to anyone that loves storytelling: If you truly want to be a journalist, you will find a way. But if you are one of those reporters or editors dwelling on the “glory days” of newspapers and keep a constant eye on sites like the Newspaper Death Watch or the Journalism is Dead site from Mark Luckie and is a collection of funny quotes on why journalism is dead, then someone needs to scream in your ear and tell you that things have changed. They are going to keep changing. But I am simply more optimistic (and can afford to be – I know things change when you have a mortgage and kids to feed, etc.).  Here are a few reasons why I am optimistic:

In-text ads may be the next big thing for news sites, but are they worth it?

Posted on : 10-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Online Journalism, Trends

Tags: , , , , ,

msnbcad

With a slump of 5 percent in online advertising in the first quarter in comparison to last year’s numbers, news sites seem to be trying new forms on the Web to increase revenue. One of the things I have noticed is more sites incorporating in-text ads that appear as links and expand when a reader hovers over them. But does this form of advertising ruin the reader’s experience? Moreover, does it cross ethical boundaries?

Web numbers down for StarTribune.com, others in Minneapolis

Posted on : 09-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Trends

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There was a lot of fuss about Compete.com’s numbers on Twitter.com visits slowing, as reported by Mashable. I decided to use Compete.com to check on some of the local news sites and see how they are doing. If the site’s stats are accurate, it means that StarTribune.com’s unique and overall visits have been slipping since January. The overall visits have also been declining from 5.5 million in March to 4.6 million in May.