Dataminr Is Changing the Process of Gathering and Varifying News

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Dataminr, a firm that analyses social media trends, has been used to turn the never-ending Twitter stream into actionable data for finance companies and even for CNN’s breaking news department. Since the CNN partnership, Dataminr has been gathering strength, emerging as an indispensable tool for stock traders and journalists.

Big Data is what drives so much of the advertising industry, and so many decisions in social networking. The problem is that when there’s so much raw data, finding the valuable information can be difficult. Dataminr analyzes each tweet using around “30 indicators of significance,” says Ted Bailey, Datminr’s CEO and Chairman.

The Datminr methodology started with correlating stock market motions with Twitter discussion before the fact. By figuring out how markets are impacted by talk, the company was able to build a system that would provide rapid analysis. According to The Economist, Datminr’s typical edge on the competition is five or ten minutes, a gaping time differential when it comes to stock trading or breaking news.

Now, Dataminr is getting the scoop for CNN. “Not typically but sometimes it is the first we hear of something,” Kenneth Estenson, the head of CNN’s digital operations told The Economist. He added that the alerts from Dataminr are becoming a core part of the publication’s news-gathering techniques.

Dataminr can apparently give market traders even more lead time on a disaster – up to six hours according to Bailey. “We were able to detect that and alert our clients on Wall Street to that conflict and its potential disruption over six hours ahead any single other source they had access to” Bailey said in relation to a siege on Iraq’s largest oil refinery.

At various points in its development Twitter has been a medium for citizen journalism. Indeed, the attempted Twitter ban in Turkey shows just how much power structures fear its impact. In trying to verify breaking news on social networks, Dataminr is poised to get it right at a much higher rate than any other data source.

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CNN Partners With Dataminr to Mine Twitter for Breaking News

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In a highly competitive 24-hour-news-cycle CNN is betting on Twitter as a breaking news source, by partnering with a New York startup Dataminr to make sense of the data.

The staff at Dataminr have been working with CNN for several months now. The startup has also been working with Twitter since 2011 to provide data to the finance industry and the public sector “to find what is essentially a needle in a haystack among the hundreds of millions of tweets sent every day.” Dataminr scans Twitter to weed out bad information from the good, and then pass pertinent information to clients — in this case the clients are CNN journalists.

The technology alerts CNN journalists to breaking trends on Twitter, which allows them to decide if the stories are worth pursuing. The notifications don’t even have to be in the dedicated app, they can be sent via email, text message or instant message. In an era when CNN journalists are looking at their phones during a live broadcast, Dataminr is perfectly poised to become a hugely important tool for CNN.

Social networks and smartphones have become more important for news gathering and news consumption as well. A recap of digital trends in 2013 from Pew Research Center noted that 64 percent of tablet owners, and 62 percent of smartphone users, get their news through their device. A further 37 percent and 36 percent respectively get news through their device daily. Not to mention the power of those devices to bring the news to Twitter in the first place.
CNN and other news companies need to keep up with the speed of social media if they hope to stay on top of the news cycle. It’s not just hour by hour coverage, or blow-by-blow anymore — it’s minute-by-minute, and flinch-by-flinch.

Image credit: tanjila

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