social media reporting

Course description

Social media is not just about publishing content, it’s also vital for the discovery of news. This course will equip you with the latest tools and techniques needed to allow social media to enhance your reporting.

This one day course will train you in:

  • Using all social media platforms, from the mainstream (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to the fringe (Reddit, Gab, Telegram) to improve your reporting
  • Verifying compelling content and debunking misinformation and disinformation
  • Contacting sources in an ethical and timely fashion using social media
  • Optimising tools such as TweetDeck and CrowdTangle to find stories early
  • Using basic open-source news intelligence (OSINT) techniques in your reporting
  • An introduction to fact-checking misinformation shared on social.


Introduction to social media reporting

A brief overview of why all journalists should be comfortable using social media as part of their reporting. Introduction to all relevant social media platforms, including tips on how to efficiently navigate them. Demonstration on how stories are found and reported on each platform.

Battling fake news

The pitfalls to watch out for when discovering content on social media. How to verify (or debunk) a video, image or first-person report using easy-to-learn techniques. Workshop element involving location verification.

Approaching online sources

Whether it’s clearing a dramatic Twitter video for broadcast or DMing an Instagram user affected by NHS cuts, it’s vital that you can contact members of the public in a timely and ethical fashion. This segment will demonstrate how to confirm someone’s identity, how to contact them privately and how to increase your chance of getting a response.

Optimising social media searches

Every journalist, no matter what their beat, should have social media optimised to be early to emerging trends. Bespoke searches on TweetDeck, smart use of Twitter lists (and how to search for them), building CrowdTangle lists for your beat and even imaginative use of marketing tools like BrandWatch will be covered.

Demystifying open-source news intelligence (OSINT) techniques

A look at some amazing reporting enabled by OSINT techniques and how many of these tips and tricks are easy to deploy and not just limited to ‘serious’ news reporting.

Fact-checking social media

Tips on how to fact-check disinformation and misinformation shared on social media.

Getting there

This is an online course that takes place on Zoom and the training platform. The Zoom sessions will take place between 10am and 1pm BST on 22 and 23 June.

About Kevin Donnellan

Kevin worked with Storyful News Agency for six years. During this time, he led teams in finding and verifying all that social media has to offer for newsrooms around the world. He started Storyful Trends, a service delivering trending topics to newsrooms such as Mashable, ABC News and NowThis. He developed a training course for Times and Sunday Times journalists on how to use social media to enhance their reporting. He now works as a journalist, consultant and trainer with a focus on social media verification and fact-checking.