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Using Storify for journalism education

How to use Storify in the classroom to help students connect with the news, explore sourcing and context. This is *not* cut-and-paste journalism. This is 21st century journalism which uses social media as dynamic wire postings and lets the reporter curate the content and provide context.


  1. Author's note: Storify has been updated since this guide was published.
    Things I like:
    Storify icons on Twitter and Facebook which will copy selected text over to your Storify account. 
    The Storify plug-in for Wordpress. 
    The nifty little extension in Chrome which copies selected text from web pages.


    First, catch your fish! Go to to sign up. The first thing you will see is this "Create a Story" screen. The left-hand side is where you build the story and the right-hand side of the screen contains a list of social media elements. You can search for content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Google, RSS feeds and there's also an option to paste in specific urls. The "+" sign at the right will reveal more options such as SoundCloud, BreakingNews and Instagram. 
  2. Each item on the right hand side can be dragged over to the Storify tool.  It's important to assign topics for students. It helps narrow their focus. It's not just journalists who can veer off track on a story... In this example, I searched Twitter for the hashtag "ows" for Occupy Wall Street.
  3. Screen shot 2011-10-28 at 10.51.36 AM
    Screen shot 2011-10-28 at 10.51.36 AM
  4. This was the top tweet returned by Twitter. But who is Huggy Bear? This is the first step on Storify - verifying sources.
  5. In this case, @huggybear116 looks like a fairly decent source. The first indication of a good source is by looking at their previous tweets and looking at the information they are sharing. The profile information is very clear so we know we can contact the source for more information or verification. It's also important that sources on Twitter have detailed profiles and do not use the "egg" picture. The next step is to verify the story. 
  6. We searched on Google News within Storify and discovered that Google has indeed been asked to remove videos. The article, from Zdnet, says that: The company has released its Transparency Report for the first half of 2011 - and in that report, it specifically notes that it received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality and a different request from a different agency to remove videos that allegedly defame law enforcement officials. Read full report here
  7. The Google Search also shows us this story from CBS Business Interactive Network which is a deeper piece on police brutality. I'd like to get a screenshot of the Transparency Report from Google to add in to this piece. 
  8. So my next stop is searching Google and Flickr to see if the screenshot is there. My search is showing more information about this story so it seems as if our first source, Huggy Bear, was certainly credible on this issue. As it turns out, I am my own source for the screenshot.
  9. Screen shot showing Google requests from U.S. Government
    Screen shot showing Google requests from U.S. Government
  10. This means I now have an image of the Google request so the story has some more heft. I'm going back to Twitter to see if anyone is talking about this report. As we can see from the examples below, the story is starting to grow major legs.
  11. This Storify, which started as an example of how to use Storify, is now evolving into its own story. The Google Transparency Report was released this week and The Guardian in London also ran a story about the rise in government requests in the the U.S. So I can also add the url from my web search to add another source to this story. To do this, I add the url  in the 'embed url' tab at the top right and then I can pull it in below.
  12. These examples show that there is a fair amount of "buzz" about this story on Twitter but now students will know to go back and check the sources to see how credible they are. Why do I like Storify? I think it recreates that sense of discovery that we used to experience in research libraries. It moves us all out of our comfort zones. We can explore news stories through several different social media streams. We can curate those stories and then show the finished project to the world. And then there's the big difference with legacy media. We can also share these stories with the world.

  13. Storify facilitates collaboration among students as well as faculty. For instance, Dr L.J. Thornton from Arizona State University shared these four links from her students which illustrate how they have used Storify to great effect.