Foursquare in Journalism

The app foursquare has been around since 2009. It is an app that “helps you find the perfect places to go with friends. Discover the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area”. I used to use it a little bit when I was in high school and occasionally if I am bored at a restaurant or something I will pop it up in my phone and “check-in.”

That’s what you do with the app, you go to different places that provide food, and entertainment, or just plain old locations, and you go on the app and simply press check in. It is a social app and you can connect with your friends, and can check in with each other and comment on each others check ins.

As a journalist I think that this tool could be very useful. The first and most important use I can think of is if there was a breaking news event as somewhere people would go and possibly check into. You could do a search for the place and find out how many people were there at the time the story broke and and also who was there. Could be one way to find people with first hand experience that may be willing to tell their story.

That was one of the first ways I thought of how you could use foursquare as a journalist, and I did a little bit of research and found a way that did not even come to mind for me.

As a news organization you can check in at different areas and make your comment whatever story is going on.

This image came from an article on

This could be a great way to let folks who are searching for different areas know about a news story that is happening there. As you can see above, if someone was to search for Times Square… this check in would come up from The Wall Street Journal and those folks would now know about TS being evacuated due to a suspicious package.

An in-depth way I thought about using this app would be if you were doing an investigative piece on somebody. IF they used foursquare then you could look back at their check-in history and be able to look into certain trends they may or may not have and some possible favorite spots you could camp out to try and get footage or even a soundbite out of.

Foursquare is a unique tool that journalists could always have in their back pocket for when it comes to either dire circumstances or just simply trying to get a little more information out of a story you are working on.