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article imageOp-Ed: The top 10 sub-reddits all journalists should be checking out now

By David Silverberg     Apr 7, 2015 in Internet
At 5.2 billion pageviews monthly, reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world. Journalists and news junkies can get the latest headlines from various reddit communities, from tech stories to sports highlights to offbeat news.
It's an under-statement to say reddit can be overwhelming. Thousands of communities/forums, also known as sub-reddits, populate this blandly-designed site that resembles more of a message board than a social network. But the timeliness of news and passionate members make reddit an under-valued resource for journalists or news lovers looking for the most intriguing stories from around the world.
(Note to Digital Journalists: You may recognize reddit as one of the key drivers of traffic for Digital Journal articles, as redditors often post Digital Journal stories in various forums).
Whether you work as a writer or are passionate about the news surging online before you hear about it on the 6 o'clock broadcast, below are the top 10 sub-reddits you should be subscribing to and checking out regularly:
r/news
It's an obvious place to start, and it can be useful for seeing what the reddit community in the U.S. is discussing. This sub-reddit often reports on breaking news with lively discussion adding nuanced commentary to the posts. You won't often see troll-like threads here, because I've noticed the news readers in this forum want to add to the conversation with intelligent insight rather than detract with nonsense insults.
Tip for journalists: Click on the "new" tab to see what was just posted on /news to get a truly real-time glimpse at what's breaking right now.
r/worldnews
Similar to /news, this sub-reddit offers a hefty recap of news making headlines outside the U.S. Europe gets the lion's share of coverage, while ISIS is fast becoming a trending topic on this forum. It's particularly handy to have various filters available, in case you wanted to check out /worldnews without, say, Palestine headlines.
r/technology
There's a good reason why more than 5 million redditors subscribe to r/technology: it often posts thoughtful Op-Eds and analysis of the tech news of the day. While they may cover breaking news, the posters on this sub-reddit seem to be more interested in analysis related to the tech-related headlines. Like with many communities, stickers aka filters are available in case you want to see news just on security or hardware or AI, for example.
Tip for journalists: The commentary thread could provide opportunities to see if a certain topic is gaining serious momentum. If you see a thread with more than 100 comments, that means it's getting r/technology riled up and likely will be a major tech story the next day.
r/science
I really like how r/science doesn't allow non-scientific journals to have their content posted here. Rather, only studies from respected journals make the cut, which ensures you are seeing the original research as opposed to what a journalist synthesized. At r/science, you'll catch news and research rarely reported in the mainstream media, and you get the added value of scientists and experts weighing in on the comment thread. You'll be amazed at what is being studied beyond what the New Scientists of the world are covering.
r/videos
If there's any hub for videos going viral, it's this sub-reddit. What often soars to the top here will be showing up in your Facebook feed the next day. Granted, some of the videos are quite old (as funny or interesting as they may be). Most of the time, though, members are quick to showcase a video soon to be top of mind for watercooler convos. Sketch comedians, dashcam-POV car wrecks, and anything related to Game of Thrones often get a lot of love here.
Tip for journalists: Be sure to check out a YouTube's video upload date so you aren't reporting on a video several years old.
r/sports
Whatever is happening in the world of sports will likely find a home on this sub-reddit. It's helpful this community doesn't focus solely on major North American sports but also offers highlights and Op-Eds on soccer, cricket, golf, etc. Rather than dozens of headlines, r/sports may also display questions and commentary threads on anything sports-related, from requests which ESPN 30 for 30 show to watch to "How can New York call itself the 'basketball mecca' if they haven't won anything in decades?"
r/nottheonion
The community tagline says it all "For true stories that are so mind-blowingly ridiculous, that you could have sworn it was an Onion story." Yes, these wacky headlines are all true, even if they seem too wild to be real. Journalists looking for story ideas might get the weird side of their brain percolating while perusing r/nottheonion, while news readers looking for a laugh or a head-scratcher will see their time nicely absorbed on this forum. Only thing is, the comment threads are pretty dead, but perhaps that's due to readers being too slack-jawed in shock to write anything comprehensible.
r/dataisbeautiful
Visualizations and infographics often glaze over our eyes thanks to their ubiquity online, but this sub-reddit collects some of the more fascinating tables/graphs everyday visualization lovers create. Sometimes, we journalists appreciate info displayed in a clear and simple graph. Ever been curious about seeing a heat map showing which countries consume the most sugar per capita? Or how craft breweries have grown over the past decade? Thanks to this very active community, you'll see new visuals almost on the hour, on topics large and small.
Tip for journalists: Contact the member who uploaded a certain graph of interest, in case you wanted to make a story out of the creative mind behind the visualization.
r/journalism
Journalists, this sub-reddit is tailored to you. Read the latest news on journalism trends, digital startups worth bookmarking, where j-schools are headed, discussions on ethics, and much more. This forum is especially popular for questions and commentary, whether you're looking for advice on hunting for jobs or want to learn more about media coverage on a particular subject.
r/(any major city)
That means you can add your city after the "r/" to see the buzz and hot discussions affecting your community. Many reporters take to their city's sub-reddit to learn about the stories not making the cut above the fold in MSM, but be wary of biased and astro-turfing. Learn more about a poster's reddit history before taking his/her post to heart.
Tip for journalists: Need sources for a story? A city's sub-reddit is often full of active members, and if you ask for sources from your neighbourhood, there's a good chance you'll get flooded with messages within two hours. Especially if your story is about why people love cats (inside joke: redditors love cat videos).
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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