Finding more reporting on Periscope reporting

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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We’re starting to spot more stories on the potential of Periscope for the news business.

“Journalists might see Periscope not as content delivery, but as context delivery,” according to a post from storybench.org, explaining how “the one-on-one feel of a Periscope broadcast on your personal screen… allows news consumers to tag along with journalists out in the field.”

Oh the places you’ll go: Tapping Periscope for reporting – Storybench

Meanwhile, journalism.co.uk has an update on How livestreaming apps fit in the newsroom.

And new NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt has been experimenting with Periscope and says “That’s the direction I think we are all going in,” according to a post at jamestownsun.com.

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Periscope surfaces at #IRE15

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: We put on a “Periscope for Journalism” pop-up panel during #IRE15 last week in Philadelphia.

With the popularity of new live-streaming mobile video applications emerging over just the past few months, I began leading small presentations at journalism conferences and newsrooms here in Philadelphia.

But last week, one of the largest and most esteemed gatherings of our profession came to town for the Investigate Reporters and Editors (IRE) 2015 national conference.

While IRE had no plans to address streaming journalism, they did offer the opportunity during the conference to apply for time to present pop-up panels on emerging topics.

And my effort to lead “Periscope for Journalism” won a place in the program, based on votes from journalists in attendance.

My pitch for the panel began:

The sudden popularity of live-streaming mobile video applications has been creating new possibilities for journalists. But once again, the emerging platforms present a new set of ethical and legal complications.

I promised a quick presentation and demonstration before moving to a “lively conversation about the challenges and responsibilities of real-time mobile broadcasts.”

And I had the great fortune of finding two remarkable colleagues to join me:

Josh Cornfield is the New Jersey News Editor for The Associated Press. He works with a team devoted to finding and telling both breaking news stories and high-level enterprise.

Susan Phillips covers energy and the environment for the multi-media public radio project StateImpact Pennsylvania. She holds duPont and Murrow awards and spent a year at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow.

Next, I went on a bit of a social media campaign for votes and then attendees, promising more than just fun and games.

During the panel, we discussed several topics which have been emerging here at streamalism.org and I pointed out a pair of how-to posts — on broadcasting and discovering streams.

A couple of notable examples included reporting from the recent Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia by local photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek, and streams from the Baltimore riots by Paul Lewis, the Washington correspondent for The Guardian.

Josh Cornfield said that he followed Kaczmarek’s live report and called it the “first real reporting anywhere that there were fatalities.”

Cornfield said that — as with all social media reporting — he took that information “as a tip, not as something we’re going to put on the wire,” but that it also prompted him to send an immediate “heads-up” to the AP’s Philadelphia newsroom.

Cornfield said that whenever news is happening there’s a “pretty good chance” you will found something you can use on Periscope. For instance, Cornfield said that he found reporter from a newspaper in York, Pa., streaming live from a press conference after a recent double shooting.

Susan Phillips had not yet produced her own broadcasts but said that as the subject of streaming she found the medium “much more visceral” than tweeting and could imagine additional advantages, such as streaming directly to social media audiences while simultaneously conducting a stand-up report for an anchor back in the newsroom.

Live streaming apps also “brought up a lot of legal questions” for Phillips, who discussed the reasonable expectation of privacy as well as copyright concerns, for example when streaming from concerts.

Meanwhile, Associated Press Philadelphia reporter Mike Sisak streamed our panel on Periscope and then stepped up to the microphone to read questions from his live viewers.

Cornfield took another question on the need to make corrections when a subject on Periscope misinforms your audience, explaining that the correct response would be “a matter of scale” but that you should “let the same audience” know what happened.

More audience members added tips for using Periscope to send your newsroom quick notes from the field, brought up more copyright questions and raised the concern that live-streaming apps could have a chilling effect on public officials — who may become reluctant to share background information at news scenes.

I am predicting only that this won’t be the last journalism conference where these questions emerge.

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Streaming journalism review

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Bastiaan Slabbers, Kevin McCorry and Shai Ben-Yaacov of WHYY launch Periscope streams.

Here’s an update from my first six weeks of blogging about live-streaming mobile news video applications for journalists, which I gathered to make a presentation Tuesday at WHYY in Philadelphia. Check the smaller badges below for links to posts with more information:

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Weekend reading: Latest reports on streaming video

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: I covered the Ride of Silence with Periscope earlier this week in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia mayoral primary election night speeches were Periscoped

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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WilliamsAbove and left: Periscope coverage of speeches by victor Jim Kenney and leading contender Anthony Williams.

Here in Philadelphia, we get the news at 10 p.m. on Fox and an hour later from the remaining network affiliates.

So, after receiving a flurry of text alerts reporting that candidate Jim Kenney had won the Democratic mayoral primary election, I tuned in to Fox to see if I could catch his victory speech live.

First, they went to the concession speech from the headquarters of leading contender Anthony Williams, and then back to Kenney’s HQ.

But they didn’t stay with either speech in their entirety. I might have found more live coverage had I switched to the other stations, but instead I turned to Twitter and searched for Periscope coverage, where I found streams from @BasSlabbers with Williams and @jpegjoshua with Kenney.

It’s not exactly a Periscope revolution, but it’s another first for journalism in Philadelphia, delivering election night speeches live with only a smartphone.

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Haven’t got three hands? Streaming video on the job won’t be easy

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek streamed live video as Air Force One pulled away yesterday.

Not so long along, journalists kept one hand free for a smoke or a cup of coffee. But with so many of us tasked with producing multimedia reports in recent years, there is more to carry and much more to do.

So, if you’re already expected to grab a photo and send it along with a tweet while covering events, all the while taking notes for the final story, when will anyone find the opportunity to stream live video from the scene?

Yesterday, we got a look at one example from Philadelphia photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek, who was covering President Obama’s arrival and departure from Philadelphia International Airport. (Yes, Joe’s the same guy who Periscoped from the Amtrak accident last week.)

After spending the day in nearby Camden, NJ, President Obama retuned to the airport on Marine One before climbing aboard Air Force One and flying back to Washington.

Kazamarek propped up his iPhone and started streaming as the helicopter came into view and made adjustments when he had a free hand — before ending the stream with a look at the big jet flying away.

Altogether, the video runs more than 17 minutes, but Obama was in view for just about 45 seconds. During that span, you need to stay focused with the camera you were paid to bring. But that still leaves a lot of time for streaming before you get escorted back from the camera position.

As I wrote about my own first attempt at covering news with Periscope — during the recent #PhillyisBaltimore rally — just managing oneself and the phone can be quite the juggling act.

And as I discovered during my first attempt to stream while cycling, you can’t watch the screen while you’re doing something else. So, you may never see the comments that evaporate, but at least you can continue your narration for the benefit of your viewers.

We have seen other newsies stream from the passenger seat when pulling up on an incident, using an iPhone mounted on another camera at the scene, and of course giving us a look at the action back in the studio.

But where is the opportunity on other assignments? While covering meetings or courts? Or while working on feature stories?

Please come back and share your ideas and experiences as this movement continues to develop.

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Photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek reports live from Amtrak crash scene in Philadelphia using Periscope

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Frame grabs from Kaczmarek’s Periscope report.

Note: Above all, my thoughts are with the victims of last night’s Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. We also need to recognize the remarkable work of our first responders, including many members of the local news media.

At the same time, we saw some groundbreaking journalism from Philadelphia freelance news photographer Joe Kaczmarek, who managed to stream a couple of brief Periscope news reports while covering the Amtrak crash as a still photographer working for The Associated Press. Here is an excerpt:

More than 2,000 people watched the second stream, and many shared their reactions:

Disclosure: Joe Kaczmarek and I are longtime friends and colleagues. We previously cofounded the Gun Crisis Reporting Project.

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