1. How To Use Reddit to Find Story Ideas
My favorite three subreddits to find story ideas are /r/AskReddit, /r/explainlikeimfive, and /r/todayILearned. Ask Reddit is a Q&A section of the site, similar to Quora or Ask Metafilter. Explain It Like I’m Five breaks down complex questions into easy-to-understand, parseable answers, and Today I Learned plucks out the most interesting fact from pieces.
You can search any of them for any keyword — and restrict the search to that particular subreddit. Like this:
This allows me to see what questions people have already searched for, about the topic I’m covering, before I report on a piece. I can then make sure that the piece I’m writing covers the most commonly asked questions. (I imagine someone could also develop a way to automate this process. It would make a good hackathon project.) It’s also a really good way to conduct user-research, because people have probably asked questions/queried about what you’re designing, if you design things. You can also track multiple subreddits at once through multireddits. (Here’s one for all of the subreddits that have to do with public media.)
2. How To Use Reddit To See What Topics in the News are Trending
You can use this subreddit search engine to see which parts of reddits are trending. (Look at Growth.) You can also go to the /r/news or /r/worldnews sections of Reddit and sort by various dates, to see what news resonated with people from specific dates.
To look at specific domains, you can restrict any search of reddit to a domain. For example, here are the top npr.org sites posted to reddit in the past year. (Note that I restricted the time period to this year and the domain to www.npr.org)
3. How To Use Reddit To Find Sources And Keep Track of Breaking News
I often use Reddit to keep track of breaking news. /r/live is the place where people liveblog news events. Here is the thread for the Charlie Hedbo shootings. I also like to go into subreddits for particular places. You can replace Washington DC with any city in this URL to see the local subreddit near where you live. An intrepid NPR intern once went into the Los Angeles community on Reddit, introduced himself, and asked if anyone had any story ideas for him. You can also go into any subreddit and do a call-out for sources. It’s a good idea to check with the moderators first. You can find the moderators in the right rail of any subreddit.
**4. You can use Reddit as a link list
Anyone can create a subreddit. You could create a subreddit to keep track of a list of links. (You can also create a subreddit to get feedback for your app. Here’s the bitofnewsbot subreddit, where people submit feedback to make the app better.) Here are some of my favorite subreddits.
/r/newsapps keeps track of interactive news stories
/r/AskHistorians always has interesting stories that could be expanded upon
/r/usefulwebsites are mainly useful tools you can use