Live journalism comes of age

“Live video experimentation is going to continue in 2018 with an eye towards nuanced coverage that audiences can relate to. This coverage will be brand safe and highly monetizable.”

Over the last few years, live video has taken center stage in many newsrooms across the globe, but it’s had to grow up in front of mass audiences both on- and off-platform.

Live video, or live journalism as I like to call it, will become much more sophisticated from a planning and production standpoint in 2018 as a result of vast amounts of experimentation in 2016 and 2017. From exploding watermelons to highly specialized live programs, content creators have experimented with many different formats, but there’s a new rise of thinking around live video, which consists of:

  • coverage that has a purpose or drives impact
  • quality over quotas
  • talking heads that bring fresh and diverse perspectives
  • or better yet, no talking heads in the field unless they can provide context and engage with the community and viewers

BuzzFeed News has a three-prong live strategy across Twitter:

  • A great example of a live program that cuts across the confines of broadcast news is BuzzFeed News’ AM2DM. AM2DM is a daily morning show that airs at 10 a.m. ET on Twitter which is geared towards folks on the go who aren’t in front of a TV, the at-work audience who are mostly watching the show on their laptops in the office or on their phones while hiding in the back of a meeting. What makes this format enticing is that BuzzFeed News is leveraging so many facets of their newsroom to cover a blend of hard news, entertainment and pop culture in a digestible fashion. BuzzFeed News utilizes Twitter’s premium live experience for AM2DM which seamlessly brings together the live broadcast, conversation on Twitter and allows for a diversity of opinions and interaction with the audience.
  • They have reporters in the field going live on Periscope daily from rallies and events.
  • They also use Producer to broadcast original shows around state elections like the Alabama Senate race.

All of this, coupled with using other platforms, has enabled BuzzFeed News to expand its reach and build new audiences.

Live video experimentation is going to continue in 2018 with an eye towards nuanced coverage that audiences can relate to. This coverage will be brand safe and highly monetizable, much like Bloomberg’s upcoming global social news network, Tic Toc, which is live on Twitter starting today.

It’s also a great sign that a digital upstart like Cheddar, whose main vehicle is live coverage, recently announced some strong hires to helm its editorial efforts.

Live journalism has become essential to advancing stories across platforms and the stage has been set.

Let me leave you with a quote from Hamlet (Act 1, scene 3, 78–82) that I like to keep in mind personally and professionally that applies to live journalism and this current shift of pivoting to video: “To thine own self but true.”

Niketa Patel is head of strategy for news at Twitter.

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