How I use social bookmarking for journalism

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A few weeks back I wrote about my ‘network infrastructure’ – the combination of social networks, an RSS reader and social bookmarking that can underpin a person’s journalism work.

As I said there, the social bookmarking element is the one that people often fail to get, so I wanted to further illustrate how I use Delicious specifically, with a case study.

Here’s a post I wrote about how sentencing decisions were being covered around the UK riots. The ‘lead’ came through a social network, but if I was to write a post that was informed by more than what I could remember about sentencing, I needed some help.

Here’s where Delicious came in.

I looked to see what webpages I’d bookmarked on Delicious with the tag ‘courts’. This led me on to related tags like ‘courtreporting‘.

The results included:

  • An article by Heather Brooke giving her personal experience of not being able to record her own hearing.
  • A report on the launch of a new website by the Judiciary of Scotland, which I’d completely forgotten about. This also helped me avoid making the common mistake of tarring Scottish courts with the same brush as English ones.
  • Various useful resources for courts data.
  • Some context on the drop in court reporters at a regional level – but also some figures on the drop at a national level, which I hadn’t thought about.
  • A specialist academic who has been researching court reporting.

And all this in the space of 10 minutes or so.

If you look at the resulting post you can see how the first pars are informed by what was coming into my RSS reader and social networks, but after that it’s largely bookmark-informed (as well as some additional research, including speaking to people). The copious links provide an additional level of utility (I hope) which online journalism can do particularly well.

Excerpt from the article - most of these links came from my Delicious bookmarks

Excerpt from the article - most of these links came from my Delicious bookmarks

All about preparation

You can see how building this resource over time can allow you to provide context to a story quicker, and more deeply, than if you had resorted to a quick search on Google.

In addition, it highlights a problem with search: you will largely only find what you’re looking for. Bookmarking on Delicious means you can spot related stories, issues and sources that you might not have thought about – and more importantly, that others might have overlooked too.

8 thoughts on “How I use social bookmarking for journalism

  1. @fcoel

    How can you still use Network and research links related data, if the new delicious is still being put up to walk as an archive, not yet as a Social Bookmarking network?


  2. Paul Bradshaw Post author

    The network RSS feed still works – I follow it on Google Reader. But yes I’m not sure where they’re going with it at the moment. At the very least it still works as a good personal cuttings file, and that’s how I mostly use it.

    1. @fcoel

      I have many combinations of users of my networks + tags via Yahoo Pipes. Still working in my Google Reader as a cable agency.

      But no way of surfing proactively between network tags or Links history chain

      I dont quit for Pingboard, Diigo yet because I benefit SO much from my Delicious Network.

      They work for me!

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