NEWS published on 26 Jul 2017

Online verification network gets new name following expansion

The EBU’s User Generated Content Verification Network (UGCVN) has been renamed Eurovision Social Newswire to reflect its success and its expansion to material for online use.

After originally having focused only on user generated content, it now also includes digital and online material that is cleared to use and then can be made into news packages by Members.

“We used to be called User Generated Content Verification Network, but what we do is much broader than that. There is a different way of shooting footage for online, and we aim at exchanging that content too”, said Radoslav Minchev, Eurovision News Producer (pictured above).

He is also keen to make Members more aware of how to clear stories for Social Newswire: “In October, ORF are hosting us for three days, where we can have a pop-up newsroom, and invite Members to participate in clearing stories in our mobile newsroom”.

After discovering material by closely monitoring social media and data mining software, Social Newswire verifies its authenticity and clears rights for its use by EBU Members. “Members really appreciate [this service], as when we have breaking news, we send alerts quickly via Slack and a WhatsApp group”. These currently have over 300 members.

They curate material to fulfil a demand in material for breaking news, as well as lighter news, stories from less-well covered parts of the world, viral content and sports. This editorial effort is reflected in the content that Members use. For example, some of the most successful items recently were footage from a car bomb explosion in Kabul that killed 26 people, and a story about elephants being rescued off the Sri Lankan coast. “We also provided good coverage in Greece when the earthquake hit [on 21 July],” said Minchev.

The Eurovision team stresses the importance of good curation: they have seen that “there is hunger for Social Newswire. As long as the pictures and the content are good, people are going to use it”. They also stress that while they cover breaking news stories in Europe, they actively search for stories coming from the rest of the world: “Our strong points are the Western world, Africa and South America”.

Besides access to the Slack channels and WhatsApp groups, all of the 300-plus members of Social Newswire receive a morning outlook, daily newsletter with the biggest stories, and have access to curated Twitter and Feedly.

A Facebook page showcases how Members have used Social Newswire footage in their own news packages.It is available here.

(Article written by Megan Davies)