Tools for social storytelling and curation

Last week I gave a presentation at a Global Editors Network and Gazeta Wyborcza conference in Warsaw, Poland.

I talked about tools we use at the Wall Street Journal for live storytelling and how we curate these conversations on site.

I chose to share social tools that are free and open to all. Some of the curation tools are proprietary.

Tool 1. Twitter lists

We curate lists and share them so people can connect directly with journalists, whether reporting on elections in Afghanistan, Turkey or on the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Tool 2: RT

The RT is simple yet so powerful. By retweeting updates and images shared on Twitter by reporters on the ground, followers of @WSJ get reports in real-time.

I blogged about the power of real-time reporting from Ukraine, Turkey and Syria so won’t repeat here.


We display some of the photos shared by our reporters on social media on WSJ using an in-house social slideshow tool. Here’s an example of a slideshow on Crimea.


A new in-house tool we have for curating social media and web content is the streaming story (built by my colleague Joe Kendall). The back end feels a lot like Storify and you can automate or manually pull in tweets, Instagram photos and more.

This example, which pulled in stories and tweets from our Syria correspondent Sam Dagher, was done as a test, but it demonstrates the idea. And the new streaming story looks great on mobile.

Tool 3: Reddit AMA

A Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a great way to introduce our reporters to new audiences. Pre-arranged at a set time (there is a request an AMA button here), the Reddit community can then ask questions to the host reporter.

Paul Sonne, our Russia correspondent who has been in Crimea, and Joe Parkinson, our Istanbul bureau chief, have recently hosted AMAs.


Reddit AMA highlights can then be curated and posted on site by pulling parts of the conversation into a Storify, a tool for telling stories using social media content.

Tool 4: Google Hangout

Google Hangout video chats are a great way of hosting a conversation with up to 10 people and broadcasting it live on YouTube.

We have done four in the last month or so, including on funding for startups in the Middle East, new routes for Emirates Airlines, inside our coverage of the Malaysia Airlines story, and just yesterday our Gerard Baker, our editor-in-chief, interviewed Alex Salmond, which was broadcast via a Hangout.

Tool 5: Tout

Tout is an Android and iPhone app for recording and sharing microvideo. WSJ reporters use it to film from the scene of breaking news events and to provide behind-the-scenes views of stories they are covering.


We curate these Tout clips using WorldStream, an area of our site dedicated to these social videos. I reported on the launch of WorldStream (by Mark Scheffler and Liz Heron) when in my former life at

Another way to use these short video clips is within a story. I embedded 30-second WorldStream clips shot and shared by Sam Dagher when he was reporting on the evacuation of Yarmouk, an area of Damascus. Here’s the blog post.

Here are my slides from the presentation.