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The power of social media: Geolocation for news

By Perla Arellano

Look for a key word. Look for a date. Click search. You might just have found a source.

Thursday’s "The power of social media: Geolocation for news" session, with Glenn Anderson from BBC, Mark Luckie from Twitter, Jennifer Peck from Banjo, and Doug Haddix of Ohio State Univesity as moderator, focused on the importance of social media in the daily life of a journalist.

The action of shoeleather reporting in getting sources for a specific event has changed. For example, according to Peck, Banjo is a location based service that allows users to download the app to their iPhone or Android and receive post that are being sent from that specific place that event one is searching.           

“TV guide for real world, happening in the world right now. From people who are actually there,” she said.           

In Twitter Luckie explained the feature that can allow people to determine where a tweet is coming from.           

“Not every tweet is located. A small percentage of users that use that,” he said.

You can search by location and select the distance you want your search to span. The search is made to not only look for the word but to also to make sure the post is being made from the location where the event is happening.

Luckie also added that Twitter can be a helpful tool to pull readers into a story. He showed the example of a story from CNN, Walking the Path of a Tornado by John D. Sutter, in which the columnist tweeted during his walk through the devastation the tornado had left behind in Oklahoma.

Glen Anderson from the BBC said before publishing any pictures or posts, make sure to verify the information first.

“Just because you are in a social world doesn’t mean that verification disappears,” he said.

Anderson added that they call and email to verify that the person they are getting the content from is who they say they are and if they were truly in that location at that time.

“We don’t just take, we verify, we talk to everybody.”

The new age of social media and the important role it is playing in journalist careers has not only changed how people get their news but how journalist get their sources as well.

Perla Arellano is a journalim student at Amarillo College

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