In our most recent Reinventing the News class, Josh Stearns spoke to us via videochat about his experience with the website Storify. Stearns, journalism and public media campaign director for Free Press, was the creator of 2011’s Storify of the Year.
Before being introduced to Stearns work, I hadn’t previously used Storify, and was unfamiliar with its unique way of organizing social media. Quite frankly, I’m a bit obsessed with Storify now, because I think it is so useful.
I always complain about the organization of media and technology. I’m the kind of person who struggles to integrate platforms I use with one another, and it’s definitely a frustration when trying to come across media I’m tracking, or documents I’m trying to bookmark, and so on. Of course, I have the same problem with mass and social media. I’m forever asking myself, “Wait…did I see that on Twitter or Facebook? Or did I StumbleUpon it?”
With Storify, users are basically able to create “engaging social stories” using content from multiple media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon.
Stearns used this platform to track journalists who have been arrested at various Occupy movements around the country. According to Stearns, it’s pretty simple: people, both spectators and journalists, tweet to Stearns and inform him when they believe a journalist has been arrested. He then searches for multiple forms of verification, to ensure the information is correct, and if it is, it becomes part of his story.
I think Storify is a great idea, and I really like what Stearns has done with it. However, I would worry some users of Storify would not verify information to the extent that Stearns does – which is very problematic. As much as I completely support the movement in power of citizen journalists, I think there must be some standard of verification, to ensure bull articles are not infiltrating the knowledge of the general public, screened as true.
I think visually, Storify could use some work – thought it seems with the ability to stream it through other websites, users are able to create their own visuals for it.
I really like that Storify has the “trending topics” section, though it was difficult to find a lot of articles in English, which I found interesting.