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The impact of social media and smartphones on the way people consume news is felt in newsrooms around the world. News is now no longer a monologue, a lone reporter broadcasting their stories to a passive audience.

"News is now a dialogue... and social is the other person in that editorial meeting," said Samantha Barry, head of social media and senior director of strategy, CNN.

Speaking at the GEN Summit today, Barry said that social is "really definining" what CNN does on its existing platforms, as well as prompting the media organsiation to create bespoke content for social networks or apps like Snapchat Discover.

She pointed to a phenomenon called the 'circle of social', where a story originates on social media, is then tackled online or on TV by an outlet, and then pushed back onto social media.

Barry and Anne-Marie Tomchak of BBC Trending discussed some of the issues they face daily in the newsroom – here are three key tips to keep in mind when working out your social strategy and sourcing stories online.

Social shouldn't be an afterthought

Barry explained that the most successful CNN stories on social were the ones where "social was put in the room at the planning stage".

"Where sometimes I fail in my job," she said, "[it's] when social is an afterthought."

"If you're not putting the people that are responsible for mobile and social in the room at the planning stages, you're doing yourself a disservice."

And monitoring social media for story ideas doesn't always mean CNN is one of the first media organisations to cover what they pick up.

Barry said that stories pitched in the morning editorial meeting by the social discovery team don't always make the news agenda for the day, only for CNN to go back to them two or three days later.

Keep an eye on analytics

She also explained that sometimes people can be scared of social analytics, and there is a line that tends to be drawn in newsrooms between journalism and data.

But she doesn't think there needs to be such a separation.

"Analytics make journalists better storytellers and make editors better editors," she said.

At BBC Trending, the team doesn't just monitor which story is trending and which one gets the most attention on social.

Tomchak explained how analytics help the team dive deeper into the story and understand the subtext around it better.

In the case of the shooting in Chapel Hill, for example, the team looked at hashtag analytics for #chapelhillshootings to see "when and where it started becoming really big" and to find "the eye of the storm".

She said the same thing can be done for any other hashtag to "find where the catalyst is".

Don't ignore chat apps

Barry highlighted chat apps such as WhatsApp as the "next thing that I really want to tackle".

She said readers sometimes find a story that interests them on social media, and in some cases choose to share it with a closer circle of contacts through WhatsApp rather than tweet it out to a larger following.

At BBC Trending, Tomchak thinks this might be because they "Want to have more meaningful conversations".

She explained that there is "scope to do powerful journalism on chat apps". During the Ebola outbreak for example, private WhatsApp groups were set up by those in the affected countries to share private information, away from the panic on mainstream social networks.

Tomchak explained the BBC was eventually invited into one of these groups but it was a "difficult one to report".

"It really summed up this shift where people were really concerned about having frank conversations."

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