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01. News monitoring

The Internet provides journalists with many sources. To find your way among them, you need to monitor the news. This way you can extract useful news from the continuous news stream. There are many tools at your disposal on the Web. But they are quite time consuming, and as such should be used in moderation.

What is news monitoring ?

News monitoring tools allow you to automatically and continuously filter news linked to one or various topics. Their goal :

  • Updating you as quickly as possible
  • Allowing you to prepare for big news days
  • And to anticipate news treatment

You should check your monitoring tools at least once a day (in the morning) or twice a day (morning and midday).

What are some good tools ?

Various channels provide you with good news monitoring. Most e-mail providers have their own alert systems. You only need customize them with the help of generic yet precise enough keywords. Say for example you want to keep an eye on news relative to the Rwandan genocide. Don’t just use the « Rwanda » keyword, but rather « genocide + Rwanda ». A word of advice: don’t overuse this channel : no more than ten alert keywords, do switch between them regularly so as to update your monitoring according to your topics of interest.

News aggregators are also useful. Netvibes and Google Reader are easy to use to create your own news review. You only need subscribe to the RSS feed you’re interested in. In the blink of an eye you’ll get access to your favorite news site. Don’t subscribe to too many feeds, trust your own judgment: choose the most serious ones.

Finally, Twitter is an incredibly useful social network to spot hot debates and get in touch with ongoing trends. News of Michael Jackson’s death or Osama Bin Laden’s demise got out there first.

How to customize them ?

Everybody can make up their own organizational system. But two methods are usually used.

First you can sort them out by genre : TV, radio, newspapers, pure players or traditional websites. Or you can sort them out according to your topics of interest.

When to use them ?

You should check your monitoring tools every day, at least once in the morning. More often if you have the time: morning, midday and night, each time for between 10 and 30 minutes. This could take up to 10 to 15% of your work time.