How Reddit and NewsWhip are helping reporters stay ahead of the news

April 17, 2023

Written by Mark Brown

If there is one thing publishers and reporters crave, it’s an audience. Reporters want to tell stories that matter and find topics that will get people talking, and there’s no better way to do that than to focus on issues that already have people buzzing.

The faster you can cultivate a range of voices and find those emerging conversations the more success you’ll have. Few avenues are better for that than social media. But while social media can give reporters a real-time window into those topics, many platforms are difficult to navigate and can sometimes be misleading.

Reddit is different. Unlike other platforms where bots, trolls and fake accounts have the same ability to drive traffic as those who have something genuine to say on a topic, Reddit has a layered approach for the problem. Reddit effectively sifts through content that goes against its site-wide policies, moderators then take down any content that goes against their community rules, and finally content users find most valuable surfaces through Reddit’s upvoting and downvoting system.

“It completely changes the experience of the platform for the user,” says Gabriel Sands, Reddit’s News and Sports Partnerships Lead. Because Reddit communities are made up of self-moderated users, he feels the conversations that happen there have a higher degree of authenticity.

To make it easier for publishers and journalists to integrate Reddit posts into stories, the platform recently launched a new content embed feature. “Embeds are definitely the preferred and, frankly, legally compliant way to cite Reddit content off of our platform,” says Sands.

The power of those quotes can’t be overstated. Whether it’s a chemical taste in a popular rotisserie chicken in the Costco subreddit or gaining a real-time glimpse of employee attitudes about a policy change at Target, the embed feature adds a new dynamic and depth to stories that a reporter could ever hope to source working the phones or on-location.

By using the new embed feature, publications are able to give back to the communities that helped them build the story. It also gives reporters and publications a way to broaden their audience by becoming a contributor to conversations that inspired their original stories.

Richer engagement

Other platforms rely on likes and limited user sentiment data to rank posts. At times, those platforms may even restrict content without paid promotion from reaching a wider audience. As a reporter or publisher looking for leads and ways to enhance their reporting, it’s essential to go to a platform where users are both engaged and help moderate the content to keep the conversation focused. That cuts down on spam and harassment, which can undermine the quality of the conversation.

From breaking down a quarterback’s plays from a Monday Night Football game on the site’s various sports-related subreddits (the communities users join) to identifying the recipes from vintage cookbooks in r/old_recipes, users are guaranteed to find more than a few topics that resonate with them among the site’s more than 100,000 active communities. The members within those communities are also highly engaged.

“Reddit posts can sustain high engagement levels for a shockingly long time – sometimes multiple days, months or years in some cases,” says Sands. “People don’t realize that there really is a community for everyone’s interests here, and it is a much, much more wholesome community than many realize.”

Reporting with Reddit

By monitoring relevant conversations, journalists can monitor topics they’re working on for fresh angles and new topics. Sands encourages reporters to familiarize themselves more with the Reddit platform. “Knowing the ins and outs is a valuable thing that everyone should do,” he says.

While anyone can see what’s trending on Reddit, publishers and journalists want to detect those trends before they reach the public consciousness. That’s where the partnership between Reddit and NewsWhip comes into play.

By ingesting a real-time API feed from Reddit, NewsWhip can analyze the site’s data and predict which topics might be trending in the coming days or weeks. This allows reporters to receive real-time notifications about what’s trending on Reddit on issues relevant to their beat or vertical, says Sands.

NewsWhip can also identify negative comments and their popularity before they reach other networks. “That’s why we’re invested in this partnership (with NewsWhip), because it really helps facilitate content discovery in a way that was really not possible at scale when relying solely on,” says Sands. “The NewsWhip integration can, by and large, be a silver bullet for content discovery.”

To learn more about media monitoring on Reddit, request a demo here.

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