The concept of the social media newsroom was brought to the limelight during the Arab Spring, when former NPR senior product manager for online communities Andy Carvin collaborated with his thousands of Twitter followers on verifying the social media information that poured in during the Middle East revolutions.
After Carvin accepted a position at the new startup First Look Media, he built on his Arab Spring experience by announcing on Monday the launch of a new social media-reporting project, reported.ly, that aims to produce "native journalism" for social media communities. This means that the activities of this project will be done within existing social media tools, rather than directing people off of these platforms to an outside website.
Writing on Medium, the project's Editor-in-chief Carvin said that for too many news outlets, social media is simply a tool to redirect people to their own websites, making social media 'users' just that — "users that can be tallied as pageviews and unique visitors, rather than vibrant communities of people with cultural expertise and life experiences who could contribute to our better understanding of the world, if only given the chance," he wrote.
“That’s where reported.ly comes in — We want to tell stories from around the world, serving these online communities as our primary platforms for reporting — not secondary to some website or app,” Carvin wrote.
Reported.ly has an official home on Medium, but plans to do its reporting mostly on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. In addition to Carvin, the team consists of Managing Editor and Europe anchor Malachy Browne, West Coast producer P. Kim Bui, West Coast anchor Wendy Carrillo, journalist Asteris Masouras and East Coast producer Marina Petrillo.
On Tuesday, the reported.ly team organized a Twitter chat under the hashtag #askreportedly to explain their new social media venture. IJNet took part in the chat and got the chance to ask a few questions and interact with the team behind this project.
You can read more coverage of the chat on Storify under the title "What journalism through social media looks like."
Reported.ly's team is international including journalists based in both US coasts, and in Ireland, Greece and Italy. When asked about the lack of Arabic speakers among their staff, Carvin responded via Twitter:
@NatashaTynes Yep, big issue. Didn’t work out in our first batch of hires, so we hope to bring in freelancers and work w/ the community.— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) December 8, 2014
Image CC-licensed on Flickr via Martin Gysler