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The Journalist's Guide to Keeping Track of Local Subreddits

By Justin Pot · October 3, 2019
journalist-guide-tracking-loca primary img

Reddit isn't just memes and animal pictures. There are conversations happening on the site about almost everything, including what's going on in cities all over the world.

Most cities—and even some small towns—have a community on Reddit, called a subreddit, where users talk about local issues. This is potentially useful for local journalists, because the concerns and conversations happening there could be great starting points for article ideas.

You can keep up with the site by visiting regularly, but it's really easy to forget to do that between deadlines. Here's how here's how to automatically send "hot" conversations to your team's Slack page, or any other application, using Zapier.

The first thing you should do is find out if your city has a subreddit. The easiest way to do this is probably by Googling the word "reddit" alongside the name of your city. I live in Hillsboro, Ore.gon, so I'll use that subreddit as my example.

The Hillsboro Oregon subreddit

Once you've found your local subreddit you can set up Zapier to send hot posts to Slack. Here's a quick template for that:

Get Slack messages for posts in Reddit

Get Slack messages for posts in Reddit
  • Reddit logo
  • Slack logo
Reddit + Slack

You will be asked to sign in using a Reddit account, so sign up for one if you don't have one yet. You will then be asked which subreddit you want Zapier to watch for hot posts. Type the name of the subreddit, without including r/. Like this:

Setting up Reddit in Zapier

Next you will be asked to sign into your Slack account and choose the channel in which you'd like to see the hot posts . I suggest setting up a channel especially for this, so anyone on your team who isn't interested can leave the room. You'll want to have that channel set up before you go into Zapier.

When you're done you can turn on the Zap. From now on all hot posts from your city's subreddit will show up in Slack.

Reddit posts in Slack

Repeat this process for any nearby cities you'd also like to monitor.

You're not limited to Slack! Zapier connects to thousands of apps, so you can send hot posts from any subreddit to a variety of apps. Here are a couple of more examples:

These are only a few ideas. You can get started building your own automation here.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'