SPY Report

News monitoring requires automation - this is how STT’s newsdesk is using Little Bird

Little Bird not only catches news but also helps with situational awareness. STT’s political journalist Matias Åberg uses Little Bird to follow the progress of intelligence gathering legislation and expert hearings in parliament. For example, when one of his keywords appears on the agenda of the Administration Committee, or when an interesting expert is expected to appear for a hearing, he receives an alert.

We should learn to leverage a tool like Little Bird more. It enables us to prepare better for news, says Åberg.

The new information appearing on pages might not be news in their own right, but they may help in anticipating news. Following annoucements and updates becomes a routine procedure and more of the journalist’s time is left over for other tasks than browsing web pages.

Journalists need situational awareness

Little Bird is also monitoring the Office of the President’s pages and many politicians’ blogs. For example, if a prominent opposition leader writes a new post about upcoming elections, the journalist on call is informed.

Journalists of course need situational awareness, now more than ever. If a remarkable news event or sensation is in the works, it makes sense to anticipate the next development and set up Little Bird. News victories require constant anticipation, Åberg concludes.

For example, Little Bird is monitoring the civil initiatives of Finland and alerts if some of theme are close to the required 50 000 supporter limit.

News monitoring requires automation

All of STT’s journalists have the possibility to use Little Bird in their browser. For example crime reporters are following a case in the French media, where two Finns were caught with a large cargo of cocaine near Toulouse. Little Bird is used to follow keywords in the case.

The keywords must be chosen with care. Just using ‘cocaine’ is not enough, but combining it with ‘Finnish’ narrows the results down, says reporter Olli-Pekka Paajanen

Overall following the anouncements of foreign police and customs officials is practically impossible without automating the process.

STT’s night shift working in Australia can use Little Bird to follow for example train traffic and electric outages. The sports desk is alerted, among other alerts, from disciplinary announcements of the domestic hockey league.

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Pikkulintu is developed by the news agency STT and Namia the transformation partner of the media.