February 6, 2017

Journalists are busy. Between Facebook, Twitter, email and — oh, yeah, actual face-to-face interviews — the last thing reporters want to do is check another window.

Into this attention-starved funhouse enters Dataminr, which since 2014 has served as a kind of early warning system for journalists searching for breaking news stories. Dataminr’s algorithms sift through every tweet, roughly a half-billion per day, to identify big stories as they’re beginning to surface.

Dataminr is available on several different platforms — journalists can add it as a column on TweetDeck, for example — and there’s a separate dashboard for desktop users. But instead of making reporters come to them, the company has decided to bring its service where many reporters spend most of their time…Slack.

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Last week, Dataminr unveiled an integration for the workplace collaboration platform, which in recent years has become a virtual watercooler for newsrooms across the United States. With this integration, Dataminr is just one more voice in the chatroom.

“Journalists are being asked to do more with less, and our ability to integrate this seamlessly into their workflow does that for them,” said Steven Schwartz, president of commercial markets at Dataminr.

The integration is still relatively new, but newsrooms have already found a couple of applications for it, Schwartz said. News organizations that tested it created a separate channel — the equivalent of a chatroom — dedicated to that news event. Dataminr then serves up alerts focused on that event.

Photo via Dataminr.

Photo via Dataminr.

Another popular application: creating a separate Slack channel for Dataminr alerts of all kinds, a kind of automated assignment editor that’s visible to the entire newsroom.

The Huffington Post used Dataminr for Slack this summer to stay abreast of the political conventions, said Ethan Klapper, global social media Editor for The Huffington Post.

“We had alerts flowing into a dedicated Slack channel, and when something of interest happened, we were able to have a news-gathering conversation about the alert,” Klapper said. “This system worked well, since HuffPost has a large team of journalists around the world.”

Since its debut in 2014, Dataminr has been used by hundreds of news organizations around the world, including CNN, BBC, USA Today, The Huffington Post and France Info. Newsrooms pay for the service based on the size of their audiences, but the company doesn’t publicly disclose information about its pricing tiers.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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