01. Using social media to find news

Whether they are a source of journalistic content or a tool for disseminating news, social media plays a central role in the functioning of modern digital newsrooms. In order to work in an online newsroom, it is necessary to know how the platforms work and how to use them as effectively as possible.

The main social media platforms

While each generation has its preferred social media platform, there are now few people who do not use any of them. There is the monolithic Facebook, of course, with its almost three billion active users per month. Its hegemony is contested among the younger generations by newcomers: Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok, social media platforms that are more focused on photo and video content.

As for the political, sporting or cultural elites, they prefer to use Twitter, which has established itself as the main medium for online communication. The latter is undoubtedly the most important for journalists.

Their benefits for the work of journalists

Social media reflects what is happening in the world in real time, all on your computer screen or phone. Follow the accounts of the major media outlets around the world and you will be up to date with every event in seconds. Follow the specialists in a particular field and you will know the latest news in that field whenever anything happens. Take an interest in the most influential and prolific accounts and you will regularly be surprised to discover news that you did not expect. Social media platforms are like the El Dorado of news.

The fact that something has been written does not make it true

With a proliferation of news comes increased vigilance. While social media platforms are a powerful vector of news, they come with a lot of information that is sometimes incomplete and sometimes erroneous, as well as misinformation. Social media should be treated like any other source: greater credibility can be given to the official account of an institution than to an anonymous account, but the content provided should always be verified, in any event.