Social Media Curation Tool Storyful Helps Separate News From Noise

BY Teresa Gorman  April 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM EDT



An average of 155 million tweets are posted on the social networking site Twitter each day, the social media giant tweeted last week. In just one minute, an average of 35 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube as of November, and over half of American adults alone have Facebook accounts.

These social media sites are being used as new tools for journalists, protesters and everyday people looking for the news. However, as they grow, the amount of content is overwhelming. Not to mention, how do you know what is real and what is not?

That’s where the startup Storyful comes in, Editorial Director David Clinch told Hari Sreenivasan.

Storyful is a social media news tool created by journalists that finds the most relevant, real and interesting video, tweets and posts coming from people in the middle of events around the world. A team of journalists work with Storyful’s “behind-the-scenes” software to find, verify and curate all of this into playlists on YouTube, on their website and for Storyful Pro, a paid service for news organizations.

Clinch described the service as a type of social media news agency that provides lists of sources and content for a price to their pro subscribers. However, lots of content is in front of their pro paywall.

During the revolution in Egypt, while safety concerns and distance limited reporting for major organizations such as CNN, The New York Times and even the NewsHour, Storyful used tweets and videos from places journalists couldn’t go to enhance traditional reporting.


The story of 7 days that shook #Egypt (and the Arab world) as told through citizen video http://bit.ly/eO4auM #jan2511:07 AM Feb 1st via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

They also partnered with YouTube’s CitizenTube to gather all of these videos in one place, only including ones that were accurate and most relevant.

Since then, the service has continued to curate the flood of world news from Libya, Ivory Coast, Japan and more.

Others, such as NPR’s Andy Carvin, whom Hari interviewed in February, have also used social media to find, report and present the news in a new way. It offers a way to add more depth to reports, and more chances to cover stories that may not have made the headlines before.

Clinch emphasized that these new tools and ways of using them don’t replace journalism, because “there is no algorithm for journalism.” For example, organizations were able to take the video of a Libyan woman who said she had been assaulted and captured by pro-Gaddafi forces and expand the story, eventually leading to her release and an opportunity to share her story.

Follow David Clinch and Hari Sreenivasan on Twitter.