As the journalism field transforms itself to keep pace with the growth of social media channels, journalism schools are rethinking their curriculum to ensure their students are fully prepared to work in today’s modern newsroom. And while technology might be the underpinning that empowering journalists to discover breaking stories faster, J-schools must also learn to teach how technology can complement and improve the core skillsets that produce great journalists.
Here are five tips for teaching journalism in the social age, and a look at how Dataminr’s real-time alerts fit into the new formula:
- Get a Jump on the Newsgathering Process
In the news business, every second counts. A primary goal for journalists is to stay as far in front of developing events as possible to earn more time to investigate story details, gather data, and write a compelling story. Dataminr’s real-time alerts are a vital tool for J-school instructors to illustrate the easiest way to uncover relevant events as they surface. . The earlier you know what’s breaking, the more thorough, thoughtful and better researched your reporting will be.
- Link Technology with Process and Workflow
Technology tools like Dataminr are far more effective when they are easy to integrate into the typical day-to-day workflow that journalists are used to. Instructors can illustrate how to set up alert parameters that hone in on the types of stories and topics a journalism student is focused on, such as fast-moving developments in a specific geo area they’re covering. And alerts are only the first step: once you uncover a story, Dataminr gives you the continual stream of updates to help you follow up, such as web searches, checking media databases and contacting witnesses or experts.
- Aggregate Key Information Sources
Today’s journalists are expected to cover a lot of ground to expose stories and conduct investigations. But it’s virtually impossible for a journalist to follow every possible story on social media. With Dataminr, students can easily tailor their feed to be alerted to stories that matter most from the universe of social media, and continue monitoring activity after a story breaks. From eyewitness reports to comments by local authorities or influencers, one system keeps vital information flowing in.
- Gain Deeper Insights Into People
Journalism is a people-oriented profession. When news breaks, it’s all about how an event impacts people involved, whether it’s a natural disaster, a local neighborhood meeting, or a generous act of compassion that becomes news. Dataminr technology allows journalists to get a deeper perspective into events. Students can learn to use Dataminr to get to know how individuals are reacting to news as it develops, see conversations that are happening live, and identify new people who are in a position to add more context and depth to a story.
- Empower Other Key Skills
Newsgathering is certainly an important skill to teach, but technology like Dataminr can also be used as a critical tool to impart other vital skills that journalism students must master to be successful. Skillsets such as critical thinking, evaluating the veracity of data and eyewitness accounts, connecting the dots between disparate stories, and storytelling are all core competencies that can be enhanced by having advanced newsroom technology at your fingertips.
Dataminr’s powerful newsroom technology delivers the earliest possible tips on breaking news and a steady stream of relevant updates so journalists can win back time to focus on gathering information and telling a more compelling and cohesive story.