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Breaking the Breaking News

Reddit credits themselves as the “front page of the internet.” Their user-generated platform features stories on politics, sports and a bevy of nonsensical internet memes that are voted on and shared throughout the day, accumulating over 2 billion pageviews in 2011.

The recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado have given the platform even more notoriety in the journalism world. Redditors (reddit editors) were uploading content to the site and sharing the live coverage as the tragedy unfolded. Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin discussed the coverage of the shootings in Adweek  saying, “On Reddit, that picture that the kid posted from the hospital got to the front page and was seen by hundreds of thousands of people in well under an hour and that doesn’t really happen that quickly in other places.”imagemage of Reddit post from integ3r

Stories unfolding on social media are nothing new, but how they get pieced together real time is what blows me away. Journalists use Twitter and Reddit as reliable accounts of what is happening on site. The Wall Street Journal used Storify to piece together Twitter updates, in which you can see reporters reaching out to eye-witnesses as the tragedy unfolded.

View the Storify stream here: http://storify.com/juliemmoos/how-news-spread-of-the-dark-knight-rises-shooting

“They [Redditors] are part of helping to get this information out or are trying to comfort each other and trying to make sense of something horrible in a way that they wouldn’t be able to do if they were just watching on TV,” Martin explained to Adweek.

Between Reddit, Storify and other social channels, we are all equipped to break news. Journalism is being crowd sourced in a way that wasn’t available before. While we often focus on the misinformation and ignorance that travels via social media, here’s a chance to appreciate the power that it gives to help keep everyone informed during such important times.

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