Flash tech training: Storify, Pinterest and Instagram for journalists

By Benita Hussain, JAWS Fellow

In the fourth and final Tech Training of JAWS Camp ’12, the speakers gave us speedy introductions on how the media tools Storify, Pinterest and Instagram can help expand journalists’ networks, share their stories and find new ones.  Check out the take-away points below:

Storify, Mandy Jenkins, Huffington Post, Washington, D.C.

  • What: Started by two journalists, Storify is a tool that helps writers and bloggers create an ongoing stream of Tweets, Facebook feeds, photos and videos about one particular topic or story.
  • Why:  Storify helps crowd-source information from the Internet to develop your own stories or trends, with no need for HTML coding.  It allows writers to search various sites, like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and drag those posts into their own stories, forming a kind of timeline. (Poynter recommends Storify for covering social movements, breaking news, internet humor and memes, reactions and conversations, and extreme weather.)
  • How:
  1. Sign up using Twitter or Facebook.
  2. Browse trending stories or those of interest.
  3. To create your own story, hit “Create Story,” and enter a new headline and subtitle.
  4. Toggle the social media buttons that you’d like to search, and enter your search.
  5. Drag results into your post, and add your supporting text.
  6. Another way to add information to your story is to install the Storify Bookmark (only on Chrome or Firefox), which lets you pull in posts while web browsing.
  7. When done, click the hyperlink button, which shows the link to embed in various websites, including your own.  This is the link also allows you to make any changes in your Storify post, so that it feeds directly to the other outlets.
  • Issues:  There aren’t any explicit copyright issues, although etiquette should dictate, especially when sourcing from just one person’s work.
Pinterest, Stephanie Clary, Breaking News (NBC), Seattle WA.
  • What: A virtual pin-board that allows users to organize and bookmark “all the beautiful things” they find on the Internet, much like wish-lists.  It also allows users to browse other “pinners” to draw their own inspiration.
  • Why: Journalists can use it for story ideas, and media outlets can use it to draw viewers back to their sites, e.g., Chicago Tribune’s archived photos pinboard.  Sports, fashion, historical and food stories seem to do the best on Pinterest.
  • How:
  1. Use Facebook or Twitter to sign up.
  2. Browse or search for other Boards or Pinners; add to your feed via email, Facebook or Twitter.
  3. To build your profile, hit “Add” to create a new Pin or a new Board, to organize your interests; pull down which general category your pins can fit into to help further organize.
  4. Pull pins from the Internet by “Pinning It,” or by “Re-Pinning” from others’ feeds.
Instagram, Stephanie Clary
  • What: A low-fi smartphone photo-sharing app, which also has geo-locating, hashtags and basic photo-editing functions that give images a square, vintage look.
  • Why:  Instagram is a simple way of creating social networks.  Bloggers, writers and media outlets can use it to share news and updates via images, which can also be fed directly to their media feeds, including Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
  • How:
  1. Sign up with and find followers using Facebook and download the app onto your smartphone.
  2. Use the camera function on the app, or you can use your built-in camera and pull the image into Instagram after.
  3. Use the filters, lighting and border edits provided, add a caption and hashtags, and tag other users (using Instagram handles) and your location with the Four Square function.  You can also toggle other feeds here.
  4. You sites like Statigram or Webstigram for more usability on your computer, including searching, re-posting or “liking” others’ photos (since Instagram is a phone-based app).
  • Issues: Journalists should be careful not to over-edit photos; you don’t want images to tell a different story than reality.