A Q&A with David Clinch, Global News Editor, Storyful

David Clinch is Global News Editor of Storyful, the first and only news agency specifically designed for the social media age. Storyful solves the problems of discovery, verification, access and monetisation for global news and media clients and owners of newsworthy user-generated content. We asked David a few questions ahead of the Storyology festival in Sydney, August 10-13.

Tell us a bit about you. How did you get to where you are today? What led you to become a storyteller?
I was born Irish so I suppose I was born a storyteller. I always had a dream that I wanted to be involved in something that would allow me to communicate and connect with people from all over the world and that is what led to me becoming a journalist and moving to the U.S.

Other storytellers I admire are Nick Kristof, James Joyce, Sam Beckett, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Marie Colvin.

I would advise my 15-year-old self to relax and enjoy every moment…not be in such a hurry to do everything so fast.

The time and place I am at my most creative is on my daily run…now if I could just remember all the great ideas I have while I am running!

Why do you feel social media has become such a powerful force in the news?
Social media has become such a powerful force in the news because there is always someone closer to the story! Social media finally allows us to hear from the people who actually witness news in their own voices and to see and hear what they see and hear. What they do is not journalism but it is powerful, raw content that gives journalists an opportunity to see so much more of a story…but also obliges journalists to add the vital elements of verification, context and meaning to the content that witnesses provide.

What’s the biggest mistake traditional media is making when trying to utilize new media?
The biggest mistake traditional media is making in trying to make use of social media content is not doing enough verification and not doing enough to establish context and rights/ownership for the content they use. One of the other mistakes traditional media, and social media platforms, are making is not finding better ways for witnesses to verify and give permission for their content in real time.

What are the biggest new opportunities for leveraging viral media?
Two of the biggest opportunities provided by verified, rights-cleared social media content, especially viral/trending content, are allowing news organizations to tell better stories with more points of view and to create authentic, watchable video content that can also drive significant monetized views.

If there was one key message you hope people take away from your talk at Storyology, what would it be?
The message that I would like the audience at Storyology to take away from my talk is that verification is journalism and that the skill set required for real time verification and rights-clearance for social media content is an essential skill set for anyone in journalism now and in the foreseeable future. Trying to working in journalism without this skill set or the help of professionals like Storyful, is dangerous and will also deny you access to amazing storytelling opportunities.

David Clinch will be present a keynote Embrace digital without discarding the past and will also host a workshop, Verification and user-generated content at the Walkley Foundation’s Storyology festival in Sydney, August 10-13, 2016.