Social (media) reporter training with Take Part Pathfinder

We spent a great morning working with a group of active citizens from the Black Country Take Part Pathfinder programme, coordinated by Dosti.

The aim was to introduce social reporting – quick and simple ways of sharing what’s going on around you with other people, using social media tools. Sharing information; getting a message across.

A social reporter might shoot a simple video about their neighbourhood. She might make notes at a meeting or conference and share notes with other people online while the event is taking place.

This post rounds up discussion and links created on the day.

Everyone in the room started their own blog. They used their blogs to practice social reporting by posting about what they were learning in the training. Here are the blogs (and respective Twitter accounts):

Social reporting with audio

Lorna Prescott recorded two interviews, publishing them online immediately using the Audioboo app on her phone. Have a listen to Nichole and Jasmene talk about the Women Take Part programme:

And here are Jill Bedford’s thoughts on the social reporter training:


It was great to see participants exploring the tools, making choices about what suited them and discussing along the way. On having something to say:

“Is what I have to say interesting enough to add to the sum total [of knowledge online]?”

“Taking an interest in other people is the surest way of people being interested you.”

“Get stuff on to the web. Shovel stuff. [Social reporting]  is about them and what’s happening around you – what they’re saying – not about your tone or style.”

Getting started

“Very straightforward. I have posted text, a photo and a video [this morning].”

Social reporting doesn’t have to take the traditional, formal approach (listen, make notes, rewrite at length, edit, publish).

“Relax, capture and share it.”

“So there are different ways of reporting. Not just one way.”

Difficulties and barriers

“It’s difficult to write down what’s taking place in the room while listening at the same time.”

“Too complicated for older people. I’m concerned how older people will access social media. Will they be up to speed with this kind of interaction?”

“Need for one-to-one coaching. Space to learn, ask questions and work at their own pace.”

“Editing is a barrier. Capture and publish. Next week we’ll learn how to summarise content without needing to edit.”


One person “found it really easy to write what you were saying” using Posterous on iPhone. We looked at how to insert hyperlinks in text because it is not obvious how to do this in the Posterous for iPhone app. Lorna and Gavin used Twitter to collaborate – and did a quick post on their respective blogs to test different methods.

Another person gave up using Google’s Blogger mentioning “too much faff; too much like creating a website.” She decided to use Tumblr instead.

Saiqa started using Google Reader to monitor RSS feeds. She also used the MobileRSS app to read RSS feeds on her phone.

Links roundup

  • Twitter list – Black Country Take Part Pathfinder group
  • Storify – create stories using social media
  • Audioboo – record and upload audio using your phone
  • Posterous – blog platform; you can add posts by email
  • Tumblr – simple blog platform
  • WordPress – blog platform

Final thoughts

“Excited by it now.”

“Excited and frustrated when things don’t work. Comforting to know there is no right or wrong way.”

“Remember this is a conversation. You need to listen. Two qualities on the web that work best are generosity and usefulness. Think – how can you help someone else?”

“Don’t drop into the mindset of being a journalist. They’re writing from an angle and want you to notice their story. Social reporters are just getting the story out there objectively. Remember generosity and usefulness.”


  1. Gavin Wray says:

    Hi David. Thanks for the feedback; glad you found the writeup useful. We’ll be doing more training this week – social reporting through audio and video plus how to run a social media surgery. More notes to follow.

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