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Twitter frequently works as a kind of alarm bell for journalists. Many reporters, for example, follow hashtags like #disaster or #breaking, and receive tweets about an earthquake, a plane crash or riots in a certain city. These tweets mean it can be easier for them to be on a story as it breaks.
Additionally, most newspapers and media outlets are already crowdsourcing, that is, using content from the public. That for example is what’s happening when they ask the public to submit photographs or story ideas. The Guardian even has an app for that: the Guardian eyewitness app, currently available on iOS.
Let’s take this one step further and use a selected Twitter feed for adding the latest news to stories; like automatic additional content. A software program selects items based on keywords from the Twitter feed or other social media, and adds this content to news stories. That is the business of Crowdynews, a Dutch start-up founded by Edwin Kuipers, an academic working at the University of Groningen in the field of artificial intelligence.
The goal of Crowdynews is to “improve stories with the best content of the social web”. The business model is not based on selling software or a license. Crowdynews cooperates with the publisher, sharing the income from the page views it brings in.
The Crowdynews has different widgets: Standard, Breaking Burner and Tweetmap. In general the widget is placed alongside any article. “It will display tweets directly related to the subject matter of the article. Instead of selecting content that just happens to match your keywords, we analyse the content and process language to bring relevant opinion and background”.
Jim Brady, editor-in-chief of Digital First Media says: “The collaboration with Crowdynews to develop the Social Media Wire allows us to bring a new dimension of urgency, communication and access to social media channels for our audience. The Social Media Wire brings more voices, more sources to our sites.”. Other media such as MercuryNews.com and the Chicago Tribune are already exploring the possibilities.
Crowdynews is also expanding to emerging market countries and will soon be available in South Africa.