Reddit Al Jazeera
Fact checking Romney on Reddit

Al Jazeera English last night hosted a Reddit discussion around the first of the presidential debates.

Producers from Al Jazeera's programme and website The Stream believe that this is the first such example of a news outlet working in this way with Reddit's politics community, the /r/Politics subreddit, a discussion topic within Reddit, which has nearly 2 million subscribers.

Producers from The Stream joined the discussion which started around 8pm last night (UK time), six hours before the debates, to find out what the community thought would happen when President Obama and Mitt Romney took to the podia. Redditers were encouraged not to use "the voting arrows as synonymous for agreement or disagreement with the point being made".

The discussion gathered nearly 8,000 comments from the community, some of which were used live on air in the social media segments of Al Jazeera's coverage of the presidential debate.

The Reddit community also helped fact check claims made by Romney and Obama during the debate.

According to an announcement post by Reddit moderators, "a producer from Al Jazeera English contacted the moderators of /r/Politics over the weekend and asked us to solicit questions from the users here about the presidential debate".

Al Jazeera English then promoted the Reddit discussion on its homepage.

Malika Bilal, digital producer and co-host of the programme joined the discussion on the thread throughout the evening, as did other members of The Stream team.

Al Jazeera also used Reddit yesterday (4 October) for a Q&A with Andrew Simmons, the news outlet's correspondent who has just returned from Syria.

Reddit has been around since 2005 but has gained much attention recently. In August President Obama did a surprise Q&A appearance; in July it was used to report the Aurora, Colorado shootings.

Following its use during the cinema shootings, Time's Keith Wagstaff wrote that "no news organisation or social media site currently offers an experience that’s concurrently as immediate, engaging and thorough as the one offered by Reddit".

If you are not a Reddit regular, Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman has produced a helpful guide for journalists; Mashable has a beginner's guide.

For more on The Stream see this Journalism.co.uk feature.

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