JN2053 Digital Newsroom

With the decline of print journalism and the massive popularity of social media, the Digital Newsroom is becoming more and more important in the development of breaking news and the gathering of news stories. Social media sites such as Facebook and twitter are moving to the forefront of news gathering, with many news stories being broken with the use of Tweets and Posts. There was such a post on Facebook from CNN on the subject of a girl who was supposedly involved in Human Trafficking[1]. We chose this story as a springboard for our project, focusing on developing an angle looking at Human Trafficking in Europe, particularly traveller related.

To begin with, we read the MIP for JN2053, and read about Senger’s and Hunter’s theory of the “Nine Steps of Journalism”[2], and Buttry’s definition of “The Five Roles of an Online Investigation”[3]. We used these two texts extensively in our investigation. This podcast examines the five roles and their impact on the initial four steps of Journalism;

Critical Assesment

When working through the investigation we had time to look at each of the five roles in detail and asses how important they were in the inital steps before a solid pitch could be formed, up to step four. Here is the conclusion we came to;


  • Important as a leader and cornerstone of group
  • Organises team
  • Has “nose for a story”
  • Essential to the roles

Community Journalist

  • Gives the audience a voice in story
  • Interacts with public via social media and interpersonal skills
  • Knows what is going on with the public
  • Important in the growing shift toward the “Digital Newsroom”

Data Journalist

  • Adds factual evidence to pieces
  • Can analyse large amount of data for important sources
  • Frames the story with data
  • Essential in regards to facts and figures

Multimedia Journalist

  • Personalises story with pictures and videos
  • Creates empathy for victims
  • Adds people opinions with interviews and audio
  • Important for adding colour to pieces

Curation Journalist

  • Finds related stories to add background
  • Can use other stories to find new angle
  • Wide array of contacts due to handling many stories
  • Important for context with stories

In conclusion we decided the each role is essential within the group as they can each cover important parts the others can’t. Taking any of them away would results in a story missing important information, such as facts or personal aspects.


This chart shows an example of relevant data gathering for our story, a representation of the hot spots for human trafficking within the European Union;

Chart about the recorded Human Trafficking intensity in the EU

We found a statistic to add depth to our investigation on europa.eu, stating that while few reliable sources exist for Human Trafficking numbers, around 700,000 people are suspected to be taken, mostly for prostitution or menial labour. In 2006, the most recent figures at the time of the article, prosecutors brought 1500 trafficking cases to court in all of the EU and only 3000 victims got assistance. [4]

Due to the heavy swing towards the digitalisation of the news, social media sites have become popular for finding news story or finding so opinion for flavour. Here follows some of these examples;

This is a tweet [5] in regards to the Maria case by user @elamaranr;


This is another shot from twitter, an interesting tweet from user Heleen Touquet [6]. This one has a figure in it about trafficking. Whilst it may look enticing to throw into a report, it would be the data journalists job to follow the link provided and valid the figures before going any further;


The last example we shall show of social media are Forums. These have become majorly popular as a way of interacting in a community. This one [7] is a forum based around Maria, and if the Data or Community Journalist spends time going through it, they may find a new angle or a new source that can aid them in writing a story;



[1] CNN Facebook Post of Maria story; https://en-gb.facebook.com/cnn/posts/10152024983641509

[2] Nine Steps of Journalism; http://www.storybasedinquiry.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Nine-Steps-from-Idea-to-Story-5.pdf

[3] 5 Roles of an Online Investigation Team; http://onlinejournalismblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/moving-away-from-the-story-5-roles-of-an-online-investigations-team/

[4] Figures on Human Trafficking, Europa;  http://ec.europa.eu/news/justice/100329_em.htm

[5] Tweet from Elamaranr; https://twitter.com/elamaranr

[6] Tweet from Heleen Touquet; https://twitter.com/HeleenTouquet

[7] Forum centred on Maria;  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/492092-mystery-girl-found-in-greece/