journalism

Worth losing sleep over

Man, busy few weeks. Busy year, actually. In the space of a week recently at Storyful we had Super Tuesday, two new staff coming on board, a new site design tested and put live, a new app tested and put live and all the usual stuff of daily newsgathering. The team I work with have been working like maniacs recently, putting in silly hours. They’re a phenomenal group. But, yeah. We’ve been busy.

As I woke up on Wednesday, our CTO Paul Watson, who’s off on paternity leave, shared an article that really hit home. It was entitled: ‘What’s love got to do with it? For startups, everything.’, a post from Gigaom, detailing how sites like Fab.com and Kickstarter found their mojo by refocusing on what they were really passionate about. Given that last few weeks have been an energy-sapping but exhilirating blast in Storyful, the post was well timed.

We’ve found our groove this year, by focusing on what we love at Storyful – telling stories and helping others do the same, getting closer to the truth, and helping our clients do the same.

As a group, there’s a buzz when someone finds the hinge-point of a story hinges and making connections. We don’t necessarily love being first, we love being the first to best bit of a story. When we can hook a professional client up with contacts or content that help them blow a story wide open, that is a buzz.

We’re in a process of evolving the site and our processes to allow readers and others who want to be part of that journalistic process to join in more deeply. We love the concept of open, collaborative journalism, and how that opens up new worlds to traditional media. We love working with organisations who value innovation and want to push the envelope of how journalism is practised. And we love the people in the field who we’ve met who have the potential to be part of it and change the trajectory of stories.

That’s a lot of ‘we love’. Going back to the GigaOm article, and Paul’s tweet – do ‘I love’ what I do?

For a journalist who came from newspapers & magazines, from film photography and traditional editing, I love what I’ve learned in the process of shaping and iterating a live news website. I love that in the past month I’ve been speaking to platform pioneers from Bambuser, Soundcloud, YouTube and more, and their counterparts in traditional pillars of news media, from The New York Times to Channel 4. I love interacting with the likes of Afghan twitter journalist @combatjourno, or Syrian video activist @AlexanderPageSY, or Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, who set us straight on the recent #Kony2012 debacle. (Ain’t that latest development a hoot?) They’re the ones closest to the story, at the vanguard of social newsgathering.

Sometimes it’s exhausting. Sometimes fruatrating. My hair’s greyer than it was two years ago. But what I’ve always loved about writing and storytelling is finding a new way to say something, a different way to tell the story. That’s what Storyful’s all about, so it’s what I do every day. Lucky me.

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