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How Do Journalists Source Stories?

Trint's whitepaper explores the intersection of technology and journalism. Learn how journalists are sourcing their stories among a deluge of data and protecting their sources.

May 12, 2022

Over the past three decades, how journalists source their stories has changed at a faster rate than ever before. And though the digital revolution has made it easier to find the news for consumers, it's also made it harder for reporters to sift through the noise to find the stories worth telling.

In Trint's whitepaper, which explores the intersection of technology and journalismwe look at the effects technology has had on how journalists source stories – for better and for worse.

You don't have to be a journalist to have noticed the abundance of information available thanks to the internet. For those responsible for reporting the news, it's an overload that has to be monitored day and night. So how, in a world where civilians are sharing potential news stories at a faster rate than journalists can track them, do reporters focus on the information they need?

The answer comes down to technology – and more specifically, A.I.

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A deluge of data

Before the internet developed into its current form, with a deluge of data feeds for reporters to work through, newsrooms worked differently. They would hire staff copy takers to read sources like Reuters, the Associated Press, and the Press Association and curate briefings for editors to determine which stories to follow up.

"Now we have infinite amounts of data feeds that come in, and it's more than any one person, or even a group of people can handle," says Joe Russ, a veteran of the Financial Times newsroom.

It's no surprise that Twitter is the main culprit for overwhelming reporters with potential stories. In the Trint whitepaper, we explore how journalists today are handling this vast scope of information, and how teams work together to write, sub-edit, cut and get the news out to their audience as quickly as possible. 

"Only an A.I. solution will eventually be able to pull information in and stream it out again because we just don't have the manpower anymore," Russ says. 

And if you thought instant messaging tools were helping, the truth is… They might not be. In chapter two of the whitepaper, Surfacing Stories, we look at how open communication is both helping and hindering the newsroom.

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Staying secure

Managing vast amounts of information is not just a day-to-day newsroom problem. The digital revolution has shaped how investigative journalists do their jobs too. But it's not the journalism part that has changed – it's the way they manage their sources.

Keeping sources safe has always been a priority for journalists. But broader access to data facilitated by the digital revolution means that sources are more likely to be concerned about the repercussions of speaking with journalists. 

This means modern journalists require a certain level of technical expertise to guarantee security for their sources and offer assurances that the tools they're using won't expose them or put them at risk.

The positive side of this is that advancements in technology have seen a wealth of new, encrypted tools that allow fully-secure communication between a reporter and their source. In the whitepaper, we explore the different tools favored by investigative journalists who risk their own and their source's safety when creating sensitive stories in the digital world.

It's clear that, in today's landscape, the biggest challenge journalists face when sourcing stories is not information scarcity but the volume of information to sort through. But with the help of A.I., the newsroom of the future will be equipped to manage, edit, and report the most pressing news, while keeping their sources fully secure.

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Download the whitepaper here to find out how these developments through time are helping journalists right now, and what direction the next technological revolution is taking.