SnapJournalism in the Social Media Era

In Journalism by UFSocial Staff

by David Camba, UFSocial Contributor

@HallieJackson is an NBC News Correspondent. She is part of the group of journalists that are following the presidential candidates everywhere they go. As MSNBC calls them, they are “road warriors”. When she’s on the road, we mostly uses Snapchat and Twitter to report the whereabouts of the candidates.

Live streaming of news is a new gig and journalists are taking advantage of these new tools to connect with their personal audience. In the case of Hallie Jackson, she appears on MSNBC and NBC, but on social media she reports, off camera, what she sees whereever she goes. It is up to us to check her reporting out when she isn’t on live Tv.

The sense of a personal audience is new in 2016. Instagram stories is competing with Snapchat and Periscope.

How’s Hallie Jackson using her Snapchat to connect with viewers and provide enhanced reporting?

Today, for example:

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She isn’t in the set, yet the world is her backdrop. Followers in her Snapchat symbolically follow her everywhere she goes. Why is she in Philly? Republican candidate Donald J Trump will spend some time today in Pittsburgh and the “city of brotherly love”.

I’ve followed her during all of the campaign season, which has been more than a year already, and she has posted on Snapchat interesting information about the candidates. Her close proximity to the Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz campaigns made her a key player during the primaries.

Facebook Live is used by big newspapers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post. On this note, both newspapers covered information using Facebook Live and video on demand to cover the protests on Charlotte after a policeman killed a black man. The New York Times posted a video with a warning:

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What followed was a series of pictures and footage from the ground while the clash was going on.

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The Washington Post used a less graphic approach to cover the aftermath of the protests in Charlotte.

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Much of this reperting, “live”, was limited to a commentary of a reporter about last night’s event.

On the other hand, Mashable News is embracing the medium of Facebook Live and is shooting uninterruptedly what the community is doing (singing, screaming, chanting, etc.) on he streets. On the report, a very emotional African American crowd yells out “we have nothing to lose but our chains”. Compelling reporting, indeed.

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Here’s the embeded version of the abovementioned Live reporting:

Back on the other kind of live reporting, the campaign trail broght different opportunities to networks and journalists to use live social tools. Donald Trump was followed by Katy Tur, which was brought back from London to especially follow his campaign. She does not Snap as often, but she live-tweets events. She recently wrote a very interesting piece of her memoirs on marieclaire.com, fittingly entitled “My Crazy Year With Trump”.

In such article, she mentions interesting facts on her reporting.

Following Trump to city after city, I’ve made more than 3,800 live television appearances and visited more than 40 states. I’ve also endured a gazillion loops of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” a staple of Trump’s rallies.

Trump, meanwhile, has made history. He won more primary votes than any other GOP hopeful, ever, and he’s the first major party nominee in six decades who was not first a senator, governor, or member of the House. – Extract from My Crazy Year With Trump.

Much of those 3800 live tv appearances were followed by Snapchats and Tweets aimed to keep the conversation, her conversation, with MSNBC viewers who were intrigued by her reporting on Trump.

Mainstream media, and particularly journalists are embracing Live Social Media tools to engage with their audience, thus combining the power of network Tv and social networks. This leveraging of resources adds credibility to traditional media.

Other less formal news and opinion portals online, in the form of blogs and independent reporters, also use Live Social Media tools, by it is hard to compete online when elite organizations, like CNN, FOX and MSNBC are playing the social media game, and doing it right.

In the age of Snapchat, Meercat, Twitter and Facebook live, the news will travel, and at times unfiltered, via those channels.

For example, when Trump’s rallies are interrupted by a protester, Live video from Snapchat or Facebook Live will not edit out graphic images or beep out curse words. This raw reality of LIve Social Media coverage has to be dealt to keep a level of professionalism that much of the audience expect from reporters.

Now, even if Snapchat users do not follow individual reporters, Snapchat gives them updates on Snapchat channels from elite news organizations, such as CNN, BuzzFeed, Now This (Is News), NatGeo, and others.

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There is no question that Live video is here to stay.

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