Journalists are used to promoting their work on social media. But there’s also lots of scope for journalists to use social media as a reporting tool — to find stories, for newsgathering, research, finding interviewees and more.


But where to start? At a recent presentation I gave in Italy, I included a slide on this, and noted a lot of furious scribbling. There’s clearly an appetite for this. So here’s a list of tips and tools that I find useful. Please note, this selection is entirely subjective and is by no means exhaustive! Many of the tools are free. The $ sign indicates that there is a cost — but most companies offer a free initial trial.

TAME ($)

Overwhelmed by the stream of tweets on your timeline? Just want to check in from time to time to get a snapshot of what’s been going on? If so, Tame will appeal to you. It’s easy-to-use and pretty addictive (in a good way). It has a simple interface with three columns – most shared stories from people you follow, most used terms or hashtags among this group, and top Twitter handles. The timeframe is adjustable. Tame can also analyze any of your Twitter lists. TwXplorer is a similar tool. It’s not as sleek, but it’s free.