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Posted: August 16, 2012 9:14 p.m.

Tech trends: How to be a news junkie

I love news. I particularly love following breaking news. And thanks to the Internet, getting my breaking news fix is fairly easy. With a few programs and a few websites up on your computer, you have your own personal breaking news battlestation. You're now ready to not only consume news, but also help share and disseminate news.

Twitter
If you don't already know, I am a huge fan of Twitter. It's a quick and fun way to share stuff and communicate with people. One of my all-time favorite things about Twitter: breaking news. Want to get your news the minute something happens? Then you need to hop on the Twitter train. Although, the mainstream news media outlets are getting much better at it by joining Twitter, independent and citizen journalist Twitter accounts used to be the king at breaking news. I would sometimes see news breaking on Twitter 30 minutes to an hour before it hit the airwaves of CNN. For instance, I heard about the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Twitter well before anyone was talking about it on TV. Remember the U.S. Airways flight that crash landed in the Hudson River in New York? One of the first and most widely-seen photos of the scene was a smartphone picture shared on Twitter.

So, how do you find and read about breaking news on Twitter, you ask? You have to follow the right people. Here are some of my favorites:

@mpoppel - Michael van Poppel is based out of the Netherlands and is the founder of the first Twitter-based breaking news wire service BNO News. Although BNO News now serves as a more traditional news wire service, Poppel himself still tweets global breaking news as it happens.

@BreakingNews - The former official Twitter account of BNO News, which currently has more than 4 million followers, is now run by NBC News. They also run a multimedia-rich website BreakingNews.com.

@AP - the official Twitter account of the Associated Press.

@Reuters - the official Twitter account of Reuters news wire.

You can also find more people to follow by checking out what the "trending topics" are on Twitter. This will show you what's popular on Twitter right now and who's talking about it. Check out twitter.com/i/discover.

Ustream
It's the age of the smartphone: phones that take photos and video; phones with Internet connections. The result of this is that pretty much anyone with a smartphone can be a citizen journalist with the ability to share and disseminate news.

One of the more popular services that people have used to broadcast live news events is Ustream.tv. You can watch streaming video using your web browser on the computer or using the Ustream smartphone apps.

Ustream has a directory of official news streaming services at ustream.tv/news but there are also individuals that provide video streams of various news events from around the world. Unfortunately, it's hit-or-miss in how to find these. You'll just have to find these as they come along. The best way, I've found, is to look for links people are sharing around the web on Twitter and Facebook, for example, when breaking news is happening. If the news is big enough, the official Ustream Twitter account (@Ustream) will tweet out links to video streams relating to that particular news topic.


Livestation.com
Livestation is a fantastic service that aggregates international TV news channels and streams them online. This legal services provides many live streams for a variety of 24-hour news channels from around the world. Many of the channels are free to watch, although a premium subscription is also available offering more channels and a higher video quality to some of the free-to-watch channels.

What I find nice about Livestation is that it provides a nice alternative to U.S.-based news channels that we're all used to. With LiveStation, you can watch English-language news from other countries such as Al-Jazeera English, UK-based Sky News, France24. LiveStation also has smartphone apps for a variety of platforms to watch your live TV news from anywhere.

William Brawley is the Electronic Media Producer for The Covington News. If you have any tech issues or other questions email him at wbrawley@covnews.com.

 

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