How to find trending topics? Tools for journalists and editors

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How to find trending topics? Tools for journalists and editors

AI tools are revolutionising modern journalism, providing newsrooms with information on trending topics. Read the article to learn more.

The publishing industry is entering an era of more radical thinking about creating content that reaches more and more users. According to a Reuters Institute study, today's journalism is expected to shift its focus to offering solutions, not just identifying problems. Choosing the right topics is crucial in this process. And advances in AI have presented opportunities for publishers in the process of finding trending topics to write about.

Journalism – current trends and forecasts

How to find trending topics? Tools for content creators

A generation ago, staying up to date with the latest trends was quite simple. Unfortunately, the current explosion of information channels makes this no longer possible. Live reports, instant tweets, and thousands of sources of information of varying quality and credibility are streams that cannot be analysed in a reasonable time.

Yet, to maintain a competitive advantage, publishers must obtain verified and reliable information as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are methods for finding the latest trends that can assist you write timely and engaging content.

In the summary of trends and forecasts in journalism: Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2023, the Reuter Institute announces that 2023 will be a time of concern about the stability of some news media. Publishers need to rethink their offerings to address two challenges:

  • the trend of readers avoiding difficult news,
  • the need for more inspiration and usefulness

Journalist Amanda Ripley (Washington Post) calls for journalism that clarifies the information better, gives people hope and points to solutions, not just identifies problems.

New constructive trends in journalism

Trend 1: A change in reporting difficult topics

The Solutions Journalism Network has collected over 14,000 examples of new solutions reports worldwide. News that puts people's stories at the centre of attention will also become important. There is a change in the way difficult topics are reported. Efforts are underway to change this, with journalism enhanced by specialist teams and new strategies for sustainable journalism.

Examples of initiatives:

  • Bonn Institute for Journalism and Constructive Dialogue – created in Germany by 3 media companies (Deutsche Welle, RTL News and Rheinische Post). Their mission is to promote more positive debates and pay more attention to social responsibility of journalism.
  • Human Journalism Network – a worldwide platform for sharing inspiring and impactful stories. It launched in 2021 in 8 Latin American countries and is planning to expand globally in 2023, with the support of ICFJ, with content in English and Spanish.
  • Uplifting Stories by BBC in UK – a portal with stories with inspiring narratives.
  • Other examples of independent websites trying to provide more uplifting news: Optimist Daily, The Good News Network and Positive News, good Climate and Pink.

Trend 2: A shift in coverage of the climate crisis

The past year has brought another wave of extreme weather phenomena worldwide. The media has been criticised for treating climate as a separate issue rather than integral to political and economic decision-making processes. In response, publishers have begun implementing changes in their climate crisis coverage, like creating dedicated climate teams.

Examples of initiatives:

  • Washington Post's Climate Lab – a section utilising data and graphics to illustrate global warming impacts. It offers climate advice columns and guides helping consumers make sustainable lifestyle choices.
  • NRK (Norsk Rikskringkasting) – this Norwegian publisher plans to hold politicians, businesses, and environmental organisations genuinely accountable for their commitments.
  • The News Movement (TNM) – a start-up aiming to produce texts for younger audiences centred around the idea of a "Better Planet". This concept ties together climate, biodiversity, innovation, and food and diet issues.
  • Oxford Climate Journalism Network (OCJN) – an example of an international community founded to share best practices in climate-focused journalism.

Journalism vs. Twitter and other social media 

Many publishers would find it hard to imagine their work without Twitter. It remains a crucial tool for journalists – a source of trending topics and comprehensive real-time communication. Twitter provides a way to stay in touch with up-to-date sources or promote personal brands. 

Twitter trends are based on

  • hashtags – words or phrases with the # symbol; 
  • keywords and phrases used in tweets and comments – the most frequently used are marked as trending topics.

However, using Twitter in journalism also requires caution due to the difficulty of verifying user content and potential misinformation spread. Increasingly, social media is seen as less credible because small influential groups control it.

An observable trend among audiences is a shift towards semi-private communities where discussions are less toxic and more valuable. Meanwhile, journalists seek alternative forms of information sharing, such as podcasts, video channels, or newsletters. Thus, the role of Twitter in trend discovery for journalism will indeed be an interesting issue to watch in the near future.

Digital Technology in the Newsroom 

Meanwhile, another wave of technological innovation has arrived. The remarkable advances in AI in 2022 have opened up an opportunity for publishers to deal with channel fragmentation and information overload. Media institutions are integrating AI into their products to provide more personalised experiences.

It is predicted that the journalism of the coming years will not depend on WHETER publishers adopt digital technology but on HOW QUICKLY they transform digital content to meet readers' expectations.

AI-powered tools support journalists, editors and reporters by: 

  • detecting emerging trends;
  • finding reliable sources and facts;
  • enabling quick access to new information; 
  • speeding up the search and typing process; 
  • allowing to predict time and way to deliver messages.

Some tools allow for real-time collaboration, making content creators more productive and efficient. What's more, many are relatively easy to use. However, it is essential that although some AI tools can automatically generate content, they still need to be manually checked, analysed and verified by publishers.

How to find trending topics – helpful tools

Here is a list of example tools that can help find out what is trending and improve the way you write. However, media and news companies have different needs, so it's essential to determine if a tool can meet these needs.

1. Google Trends

Google combines all user searches into the Google Trends feature. It tracks global search trends and provides a wealth of data broken down by date range, geographic location, category, search type. Tracking trending topics is done by region or viewing those trending globally. It reflects the latest views, giving you an idea of the trends in real-time.

2. Frontpagemetrics 

Virtually any area of interest. Identifying which topics are seeing the most daily, weekly, and monthly growth is helpful. With over 3 million followed users, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to help inspire your journalistic content plan.

3. Feedly 

It's one of the most powerful tools to identify trending topics and stay current in any industry by showing you the latest published articles from a curated list. It has some valuable premium AI-based features, such as the ability to follow newsletters, Twitter or Google News feeds, or follow specific topics on the Internet.

4. Buzzsumo 

One of the best-in-class tools to help identify viral content on social channels. It also includes content discovery areas that have video and Q&A sites. It can show what content is most popular on YouTube. 

5. Trendy.co 

It offers a thorough, easy-to-learn format to understand new topics across industries. The Trendy bulletin shares subjects of, among others: Why is it important, What is the problem that created the trend or Major players in the space. This tool best provides context, resources, and the right background to understand more complex topics. 

6. Trendwatchers 

Allows you to track trends based on category or keyword. One of its unique features is that it combines trend data with “blog theme generator” features. So, it allows you to both identify which topics are trending and apply that trend to a template known as "click bait".

7. Trendhunter 

It's a media brand that offers free trending data (in the form of articles) as well as several others, including custom research, books, public speaking services, events, and more.

8. Trend-Driven Journalism 

The system, developed by an IT company WEBSENSA, suggests ideas for popular topics, keywords, growing trends, etc. This solution is based on an innovative combination of artificial intelligence, graph databases and tracking trends on the Internet.

Advantages of Trend-Driven Journalism: 

  • supports the editing of content during its creation - the journalist sees hints of related content from his editorial office's databases, related portals, as well as other (competing) information portals at the moment of writing; 
  • recommended content is selected in terms of popularity on the Internet; thanks to this, the published content has perfectly matched keywords; 
  • content abounds in the so-called backlinks that ensure the highest chances of high positions in search engines (Google, Bing) as well as high CTR; 
  • the value-added is amplification of one’s own content by proper citing and building a valuable semantic network between the published content.
Trend Driven Journalism – How to find trending topics? Tools for content creators

Trend Driven Journalism System is the only solution from the above list that can fully meet every need of a given editorial office or newsroom. It's because TDJ is a bespoke software, offering a specific set of functions, but can be tailored in every aspect to specific requirements. Contact the tool's creators to discuss the unique needs of your editorial office: WEBSENSA – contact.

Summary 

The pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of journalism – a process that for years has been seen as the primary source of income for the media industry. Today, publishers who already have adopted AI technology can better personalise information, recommend content, and automate newsrooms.

If you want your business to succeed in this new era, it's crucial to explore the opportunities that AI-powered tools offer to the publishing industry. We will gladly become your guide in this process – write to us!

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