Question marks
Credit: Image by Valerie Everett on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Al Jazeera last night used social news and comment platform Reddit as a vehicle for discussion on the Gaza-Israel conflict.

In an Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussion, Nadim Baba, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, answered audience questions.

Baba, who is based in London and the Middle East, was answering questions from Gaza City.

Almost 2,000 comments were posted during the discussion, which began at 7pm GMT yesterday (18 November).

The Reddit community and Al Jazeera audience were given insight into the story through having an immediate and direct communication channel with the reporter.

Here is an example of an answer posted by Baba:

"The rockets are generally being fired from open ground, but often near residential buildings. I think the 'human shield' argument is a red herring.

"As pointed out above, civilians are not being forced by fighters into the line of fire. However, it is known that weapons or explosives are sometimes stored in residential areas.

"In the past I witnessed a huge accidental explosion when such material was being transported – the blast damaged a mosque."

Reddit's AMA feature has been used by correspondents in the past, with Al Jazeera last month using the platform for a Q&A with Andrew Simmons, the news outlet's correspondent who had just returned from Syria.

Al Jazeera also used Reddit for discussion around the US presidential debates.

Reddit has been around since 2005 but has gained much attention in recent months. In August President Obama made a surprise AMA appearance; in July it was used to report the Aurora, Colorado shootings.

Following the use of Reddit 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.

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