With the New Hampshire primary looming large, here are 10 ways to use social media to cover breaking election news

How will social media be used to cover the New Hampshire primary and the rest of the campaign? The best new media journalists were put to the test during the historically close Iowa Caucus. Here are 10 techniques they used -- which you can use this campaign season.


  1. Storify 2012 Election page
    Storify 2012 Election page
  2. On the night of the Iowa Caucus, The New York Times, PBS Newshour, The Des Moines Register and others were updating their stories minute-by-minute, giving our politics page an All-Star team of reporters. 
  3. How will social media be used to cover the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday? What role will social media journalism play for the rest of the campaign and the election year? The first big test of the campaign revelaed some important lessons. 

    In a historically close Iowa Caucus, TV and news web sites struggled to keep up, while lightning-quick social media raced ahead with the latest results. But social media was also flooded with spam, old news, falsehoods, manipulations, bias, profanity and stuff that was just hard to identify.  

    The New York Times, PBS Newshour, The Des Moines Register and many more news organizations used Storify to cover the Iowa Caucus. (Mitt Romney's team, Barack Obama's campaign and the White House also have accounts.) What these top journalists demonstrated was a new way of cutting through the noise on a developing story, and refining social media to a new grade of usefulness. It was deadline curation at a new level. 

    To read more about the Iowa coverage on Storify, click here:
  4. Here are 10 techniques to mine social media for breaking news this election season:

  5. 1. Search a Twitter list of political pundits or candidates

    You can drill down to the experts without getting overwhelmed by all the noise. On Storify, you can refine your search results by searching a Twitter list of political sources on Storify to get the best tweets. You can find Twitter lists of political tweeters on Listorious or other sites, or build your own for your local races. 
  6. 2. Search an RSS feed of top political news

    Stay abreast of the top stories from big publishers and pull stories right into your Storify by searching an RSS feed on our editor interface. 
  7. rss feed of politics news
    rss feed of politics news
  8. 3. Search through already "Storified" elements

    This is a new tool we have just released in beta. It lets you browse what has already been curated by Storify storytellers, so you can find the best of the best, by letting the people who came before you sift the hashtag. You can see what other storytellers are using in their stories, and choose from those tweets, pics, videos and more. (This feature is currently being tested. You will see duplicates of popular elements.) Click on the Storify icon, then search Storified elements.  
  9. 4. Mine social media elements from the best stories

    You can call up the best stories on Storify and republish elements from those stories into your own story. Just search User or Story under the Storify icon on our editor interface, call up a story by its url, and pull in elements from it. 
  10. 5. Use the StoryPad tool to round up breaking news

    Collect elements from social media or around the web on your StoryPad and pull them into your story. That way you're not just surfing, you're curating what you need for your story. Here's a tutorial on how to use the StoryPad. 
  11. Using The New Storify StoryPad Tool
  12. 6. Humor

    One of the best things about political campaigns is the satire, the funny moments, and the internet memes. You can pull them into your Storify to add the lighter side to your story. Just follow political pundits or search the hashtags or terms of the latest political meme. Being on Twitter during an election gives you a front row seat to satire. Pulling those elements right into your story lets you "show, don't tell," to capture the humor, rather than relay it. 
  13. 7. Find the very latest videos from the campaign trail

    Videos are available very quickly on breaking news stories now. You can get them to your audience within minutes, often times. Search YouTube for the latest videos on an event, follow accounts such as PBS Newshour, which often Storifies the latest videos, or pull in video embeds from local news organizations.  
  14. 8. Follow Breaking News, a Storify partner

    Breaking News is a source for Storify, and often has the latest national politics headlines. You can use these to update your story, or to stay informed of the latest developments. Just click the Breaking News icon (far left below). If it's not already a source on your editor interface, click the + sign at far right below, and pull it into your source list. 
  15. 9. Search Google News for the latest stories and photos

    You can pull links to the latest stories into your Storify file. You can also pull in images, to get the latest campaign photos.
  16. 10. Build your Storify story in reverse chronological order

    Give readers the latest news first. You can keep pulling the latest events on top, and live-blog the coverage. You can produce dozens of "editions" of your stories over the course of the night, and all your embedded versions update automatically. 

    Remember the golden rules of breaking news on social media

    1. Link and credit, don't steal. Acknowledge where you found material and urge your readers to get more from that source.
    2. Slow down long enough to verify. Get it first, but get it right, as the old adage goes.