Monday, December 27, 2010

Crowdsourcing a hostage situation using ChirpStory

Thursday was an unusually busy day for the news media in the Capital District, considering it was the day before Christmas Eve and most people were either already off work or checking out early for the three-day holiday.

Around 8 a.m. we got word of a hostage situation happening about 15 minutes away in downtown Albany. We sent a photographer and reporter down to cover what was happening from the scene and waited for news updates.

Unfortunately, the reporter forgot his netbook at home when he raced out to cover the story, but did manage to call in regular updates as police remained in a standoff with an armed man holding a woman hostage.

While we waited for further updates and photos from the scene, the magic of Twitter helped us keep up with what was going on down there as it happened.

Thanks to people deciding on a hashtag for the situation and sticking to it, the story became fairly easy to follow for anyone who couldn't get nearby or would not be comfortable to sit on the street watching for fear of what might happen in the vicinity of the hostage-taker's location.

Using ChirpStory, I was able to compile the following feed of the events as they happened and post it on our website. The feed alone jumped over 250 views on the day of the incident, and over 500 over the holiday weekend.

It's a very useful way to organize crowd coverage and I hope that we are able to do more with it in the future.

In addition to pulling out the hashtag like below, I could have also inserted other tweets that caught my eye about this situation that did not include that information - a good option to have since not everyone remembers the tag or can fit it in their 140 characters.

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Anonymous Sam Piroton said...

Not bad at all, but i think you should try . Has more to offer (fbook, flickr, you can type too) and lay out is better. Ask ivan about it.

December 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM 
Blogger Tom Caprood said...

I've been wanting to give that a try but I never heard back when I signed up to request an invite. Can't enjoy the benefits when they don't give all users an opportunity to try their software. Hopefully I'll hear back soon. ChirpStory was simple, but it worked when I needed something to pull the content together.

December 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM 
Blogger Tom Caprood said...

Scratch that. As Ivan in Kingston pointed out, apparently you can just login with your Twitter ID on Storify. I'll give that a try next time and see which one I like better. Good to have two options though if something is down when it's needed.

December 27, 2010 at 2:15 PM 
Anonymous Sam Piroton said...

Absolutely! back up always needed.

December 28, 2010 at 2:42 AM 

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