The email system, called Spike Alerts, lets journalists find out what news stories are getting most traction on social within their niche.
The email, which can be timed to arrive as frequently as every 30 minutes, displays the top stories in any pre-determined topic, and has stats on how many times each story has been shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Spike Alerts takes information from browser-based newsroom tool NewsWhip Spike, which surfaces "socially-powered news, using the crowd to filter the big stories", as Paul Quigley, co-founder and chief executive of Ireland-based NewsWhip, described it when speaking to Journalism.co.uk.
And receiving an email means "you can stay plugged into social news developments without having to stay plugged into your browser", he said.
How the Spike Alerts system works
In order to set up email alerts you will need a NewsWhip Spike account, which is free for a trial period (you do not need to enter any card details).
You then select sources and topics within your niche – whether that is technology, politics or news about a particular region.
As Quigley explains in an announcement blog post: "You define the topics and sources: get a regular view of stories starting to trend from the BBC, from the UK, from the Huffington Post, from hundreds of other publications. Check on more specific niches – news about North Korea, Syria, about psychology, or fashion. If you like, get regular digests of the latest trending cats. Or meerkats."
NewsWhip then surfaces the news stories within that niche which are shared on social media and the Spike Alerts email system sends a message to your inbox.
"You can define the frequency of Spike Alerts," Quigley explains in the post, and choose to get them every 30 minutes "like many of our newsroom clients do".
"If you go that frequent, your inbox will get a little pummelled, but think of it as hot new stories knocking on the door. Over 20 international news companies in our alpha trial of Spike Alerts are already using alerts set to that frequency, so they are finding something useful in it."
Journalists may decide to set up filters within an email client in order to separate off the Spike Alerts.
The power of NewsWhip Spike
NewsWhip Spike launched in 2012 and is used by the Yahoo News, MSN and Huffington Post to keep track of topics being discussed on social.
Newsrooms are using the tool to save reporters the time it takes to manually trawl through numerous websites to find what news is popular on social.
Each day the platform tracks over 200,000 stories and, as Quigley writes, "highlights the gems that start getting social traction within minutes of publication".
"This makes Spike a really powerful and simple technology for staying ahead of big stories and news developments."
You can set up Spike Alerts free of charge by registering. Existing users can click on 'set up Spike Alerts' at the top of the screen.
You can read more about NewsWhip Spike in this article we published in September. You can see a video interview with Paul Quigley from when we met him at the Digital Media Europe conference a fortnight ago.
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