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This article was published on August 23, 2011

Where to go for trusted Web coverage of the Libyan uprising

Where to go for trusted Web coverage of the Libyan uprising
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

Now that the Internet is slowly being restored in Libya, we can expect more reports coming directly from the people involved in what’s happening on the ground. Journalists in and around Tripoli have been able to get some sporadic news out to the public, the most amazing of which has to have been Alex Crawford’s historic ride into the capital city with the Libyan rebels.

We’ve already taken a look at the dangers of misinformation spreading like wildfire on Twitter, and the events in Libya have certainly been no exception, with rumours of Gadhafi’s death spreading across the social network, only to be proven wrong shortly after. Twitter is in desperate need of curators, so when it comes to events in Libya, where do you  find them?

While mainstream media is doing its best to keep up with citizen journalists on Twitter, one of the smartest trends we’ve seen from many of them is to turn to social media as a source of information. All major news outlets have live blogs, with much of their information coming direct from YouTube and Twitter, while others have full-time curators watching Twitter and, more importantly, verifying the information that is streaming in.

So if you want to keep up with the breaking news in Libya, these are a few of the places you can go to get the latest.

Live Blogs

  • Reuters’ live blog brings together information from Twitter, from Reuters’ blogs and journalists, as well as videos and images coming out of the besieged Libyan capital. To find out more about how Reuters monitors and verifies information flooding social networks, check out Social Media Editor Anthony De Rosa’s introduction to Reuters’ methodology.

  • Al Jazeera’s live blog depends a little less on social media compared to what Reuters has to offer. Instead, Al Jazeera offers up tidbits of information, along with video coverage from Libya, and even includes links to blog posts from politicians, the most recent of which comes from France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
  • The Guardian’s live blog provides information sent in from correspondents throughout the region, and also monitors other news agencies including Reuters, Al Jazeera and AP. Unlike the previous two examples, however, The Guardian’s live blog is not focused entirely on Libya, but rather takes a look at the Middle East as a whole.
  • The Telegraph’s live blog, like The Guardian’s takes a look at other news agencies, and keeps an eye on print media and Twitter, while also posting information provided by their own journalists based in the three major Libyan cities, Tripoli, Benghazi and Zintan.

  • NPR takes a slightly different approach to the live blog. While it does have a live blog covering Libyan events, it isn’t divided into convenient time-related updates. That said, it does take things one step further with a page featuring all of its articles on Libya, and occasionally conduct minute-by-minute updates on topic-specific entries. For example, they live-blogged Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi’s reappearance in Tripoli. And NPR’s own Andy Carvin is a great source of verified information on Twitter, which brings us to the next way to keep up with Libyan events – go straight to the social media source.
  • The BBC Live Blog features live coverage from Tripoli as well as reports and reactions to the latest news.
  • The CNN Live Blog covers the latest Libyan news, provides interesting factlets about the country as well as videos and images coming out of the country.
  • Breaking News has a section dedicated on the site to the ongoing conflict in Libya. The information is a mix of news from trustworthy sources on Twitter, in mainstream media, and from the Breaking News Twitter account.

Trustworthy sources of information on Twitter

  • NPR’s Andy Carvin is one of the main sources of verified information on Twitter not only on Libya, but about the whole Middle East. Monitoring an extremely noisy Twitter stream, he retweets trusted sources on the ground, as well as providing his own commentary on events. Carvin’s most important role has to be the way in which he attacks rumours, getting to the bottom of the truth.

  • Sultan Al Qassemi, a non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government who has written for the New York Times, Al Arabiya English and Foreign Policy, among others, is a good source of English translations of what is being said in the Arabic media, along with links and commentary on current affairs, both in Libya and elsewhere.
  • ShababLibya (which literally means Libya’s youth) is an anonymous group of Libyans, tweeting from both inside and outside of Libya, according to its bio, although it would probably be safe to assume that the majority of the latest tweets have come from outside the war-torn country.
  • Feb17Voices is a Twitter account relaying phone call updates directly from within Libya, as well as translating select coverage from Al Jazeera Arabic into English.
  • TrablesVoice (who’s name includes the Arabic name for Tripoli) is said to be in the capital tweeting up-to-date information and videos in which you can hear gunfire exchanged between rebels and Gadhafi loyalists.

Journalists currently in Libya

Journalists who are currently in Libya, or who have just arrived, are a great source of first hand information on what is going on in the country. Of course, their updates are sporadic at best due to constant power issues, particularly for those who are in Libya. The list of journalists to follow in Libya are:

Summaries from social media

  • Other than mainstream summaries of social media news, there are several tools currently available to any user who wants to put together a curated summary of any event reported on Twitter. Storify, a service we have reviewed in the past, is being used my citizen journalists and mainstream media journalists alike. The Guardian’s Hannah Waldram has put together a summary of events in Tripoli based on tweets from journalists on the ground. In fact, 4 out of the 7 trending topics on Storify at the moment relates to Libyan news.

  • Storyful is another great place to go for a summary of what’s being said on Twitter. With content from Twitter (including embedding Twitter lists), YouTube and other links to mainstream media reports, Storyful makes it easier than ever to keep up with only the news that matters. General reports on fighting taking place near Gadhafi’s compound and more specific reports, including one on a Libyan state TV anchor and her alleged arrest by Libyan rebels are among those available on Storyful right now.

Have you found any interesting ways to keep up with the latest news coming out of Libya online? Let us know in the comments below.