Uses for Foursquare in news reporting

Aside from all the fun marketing options, Foursquare can be very valuable for reporters, bloggers and other news organizations. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Find a source with ties to a specific location

When you go to a venue’s page on Foursquare, you can see who has recently checked in there and who is there the most often (aka The Mayor). Say a popular local eatery recently closed – find a frequent customer to interview for the story.

2. Find a source on the scene – fast

In addition to the venue page, you can use Twitter’s search to see publicly posted Foursquare check-ins in near real-time. Go to search.twitter.com and enter 4.sq AND your keyword to see who’s there right now.

3. See where your contacts are –and where they regularly go

Follow your beat contacts and sources on Foursquare and be opened up to their every move. When a Foursquare contact checks in, you can see where they are or have been under Friends.

4. Alert people as to news at a location

Check in where news is happening and leave a shout message as to what’s happening. You may also want to add a link to a story or your Twitter feed for those wanting more info. If you aren’t at the location, but want people there to see the news item, you can cheat (just this once!) and use m.foursquare.com to leave your shout. Note: People have to be friends with you to see this info.

5. Use your expertise (and drive traffic to your stuff) with tips

Leave a tip based on your knowledge of a venue, neighborhood, landmark or intersection. If you have it, leave a link to a blog post or story you’ve written about it for more info.  (Note: Don’t just use any old post, try to make it actually useful).

More: See what the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bravo are doing on this front.

6. Learn about a location

The tips left behind at venues can be very useful for us as both patrons and profilers. They tell you what to order, what to avoid and what to expect when going there. It may or may not be great for reporting, but it helps when living (trust me).

7. See where the people are

On your Foursquare mobile app, you can see what locations near you have the most check-ins right now. Visiting a site like Social Great can also help you see these trends.

8. Show Where You Go

You can use a Foursquare account to show where you are or where you’ve been in your area, something that could really be of use to neighborhood reporters or bloggers in particular. You can display these on your blog or Facebook page using a variety of available apps.

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  • http://www.netmix.com djtonyz

    I agree with these points. Location based news is here and journalists can use FourSquare to crowd-source activity related to real-time events. How digital newsroom aggregate and display that data for their journalists will be the next logical step. It's up to the newsroom to deliver the action. Who manages these features? How will they be implemented? How do you follow trends on FourSquare? That's the topic for another post, I'm sure.

    • http://manjamedia.com Mandy Jenkins

      Lots of good questions here, Tony. In doing my own research for how I should be managing geolocation data for TBD, I'm finding a lack of existing apps for finding trending info in Foursquare. It will be up to someone out there (maybe us, maybe someone else) to tap into the Foursquare API and make an app that visualizes that data well.

      • http://www.netmix.com djtonyz

        I was speaking to my friend Jeff and his colleague at The Journal News in Westchester last week about this. The managing editor mentioned he was looking to understand this and see if there's a way to trap this data. They may attempt to build something rudimentary, but there's an opportunity here for someone to build something like a Radiant6 app for check-ins from these services. There's certainly a need for it.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/tiffinit Tiffini Theisen

    Hi, thanks for this post. I have a few questions, that are numbered to match your numbers above.

    1. Does 4sq let you see everyone who's checked in, if they're not your friends? I thought each venue showed only the mayor, by default.

    2. You can also save this URL as a bookmark: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=4sq+

    4. How can a newspaper get a 4sq account like New York Times'? The signup page only has the option for a person to sign up, not an organization.

    Thanks,

    Tiffini Theisen
    Web trainer/social media editor, The Palm Beach Post
    http://webupthenewsroom.com

    • http://manjamedia.com Mandy Jenkins

      Thanks for your questions, Tiffini.

      1. I don't know when Foursquare changed their venue pages (it was VERY recent), but at the time I wrote this, you were able to see all of the recent check-ins, regardless of their connection to you. Now you can't. I'll have to edit that, so thanks for the heads up.

      2. The saved Twitter search link is handy if you want all checkins on Twitter. I tend to use advanced search to narrow that down to a geographic area or add in more keywords. It's been working sporadically for me lately, likely because of Twitter's problems.

      3. A news organization can sign up for Foursquare just like anyone else – we have one for TBD and we had one at the Cincinnati Enquirer when I was still there – but the account won't be as fancy looking as that of the Times or WSJ. To get that custom branded page, you'd need to get in touch with Foursquare's partnership people and apply for it. I'm told they'll soon have a self-service system to handle those (likely numerous) requests, so it should get a lot easier for a paper to get a custom page.

      Before doing that, though, be sure you have a set goal in mind for the brand's use of Foursquare. The last thing you want is to sign up and acquire friends only to not use it.

  • financial management

    Location based news is here and journalists can use FourSquare to crowd-source activity related to real-time events. How digital newsroom aggregate and display that data for their journalists will be the next logic step.
    regards,
    http://www.redbrickpm.co.uk/services-we-provide/financial

  • financial management

    Location based news is here and journalists can use FourSquare to crowd-source activity related to real-time events. How digital newsroom aggregate and display that data for their journalists will be the next logic step.
    regards,
    http://www.redbrickpm.co.uk/services-we-provide

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