Using Storify to crowdsource back-to-school coverage

When Storify first came out a couple years ago, my mind fluttered with ideas for using it. Most, however, never materialized.

OK, let me be honest. I started one during a breaking news event then got so overwhelmed with answering readers’ questions on Facebook and Twitter and trying to put together another online component that I abandoned the idea.

Since I first heard about it, the concept of Storify has been one that appealed to me. Use links, social media posts and pictures to compile a community’s thoughts or tell a story in snippets.

Finally, on Wednesday, I returned to the tool and despite a few minor glitches with Firefox logins and page errors that Storify seemed to be having that day, I came out with a package on the first day of school in Kitsap County compiling photos and thoughts from a wide variety of people (wider than I could have gotten schlepping around the county on my own). We had also asked readers beforehand to email photos to us and post on Facebook as part of the package.

If you haven’t used it, it’s a pretty slick tool. Inside Storify, you can easily search posts on Twitter and limit them to a geographic area. You can also search other social sites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc. or pull in an RSS feed or individual link. You can create components with your own text with minor styling (bold, underline, make it a header, etc.) The bookmarklet allows you to pull individual comments from a Facebook page or link to a site while you’re there. You can easily embed the story you create and share it out on social networks.

My few feature wishes include (and maybe I’m just missing some things)  are an ability to highlight a small portion of a webpage, like a comment on an article or quote from somewhere in the middle of an article. Related to that, would be the ability to edit the text that appears with a link.

But for the most part, I enjoyed using it and got something published for a news org. audience. Here was the result:

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