Citizen journalism meets Periscope at Washington Navy Yard shooter scare

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Jim MacMillan

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I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Christian Paige reports from the scene. View a slide show and video excerpts below.

As events were unfolding in response to an active shooter report at the Washington Navy Yard Thursday morning, local singer and citizen journalist Christian Paige fired up the Periscope app on his iPhone and reported live to viewers from across the world.

Traditional journalists might criticize this sort of work for potential inaccuracies or lack of attribution and verification, but some of them weren’t doing so well anyway.

The point of this post however is to take a look at the incredible audience response to Paige’s report and everything he did right.

First of all, the title was perfect for catching those searching social media for more information: Live at the Navy Yard Shooting in DC.

Paige opens with a summary of what happened, but also gets us on his side as he shares his concern with parking tickets and getting caught in the rain.

Talking into the front facing camera at first, Paige tells us that he sees: “police cars and news trucks everywhere,” but also asks for followers and hearts, reminding viewers of the opportunity to participate. His casual, sometimes #nsfw language only adds authenticity.

Viewer comments gush with thanks and advice to “take cover” and “stay safe” as he approaches the scene, while others offer reporting advice, including: “Look for people to ask questions.”

Soon, Paige brings viewers up to a major press gaggle on the police perimeter, shows us the same long look at the action that the networks are broadcasting and shoots a little selfie video, putting himself on the scene. The continuous waterfall of hearts accelerates.

Paige notes all the “major dawgs, big heads and real reporters” in the area but then boasts: “I’m your ghetto reporter.. on Periscope News” and the audience loves it.

Some commenters joke about cable and network news reporters and one troll emerged, but other viewers sent Paige advice on how to block that user.

Viewers bash Don Lemon and Nancy Grace of oft-targeted CNN. One jokes that Paige should “Ask Brian Williams if he shot the shooter yet.”

Paige continues to update readers on what he’s hearing on the scene but also repeats comments from viewers who are simultaneously watching other news sources. Viewers are coming in from around the world.

Comments include “This is the future of news,” “better than CNN” and “You’re the new era or reporting,” but also “Love your hair!,” for which Paige sends his thanks.

(Story continues after slide show. The complete video is available at the bottom of this post.)

Read the comments:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dozens and dozens more express love for Paige’s reporting, share continuing concern with his safety and report back on how his stream is “blowing up” with more viewers.

Paige briefly interviews a couple of witnesses he found — including one man who reported hearing the gunfire — but he also drops in when mainstream news teams cluster around other evacuees.

At times you can hear Paige gracefully deflecting interrupters, explaining: “I’m just Periscoping live.”

Kudos continue with “Great reporting!” and “Keep up the good work.” Other commenters add “awesome” and “amazing.”

New viewers drop in and Paige continuously updates them, recapping the news after reporters scrum around another witness. A viewers notes that Paige is “right up there like he belongs.”

Users exclaim: “This is why I love Periscope,” and “awesome good time for Scope,” for “bringing the action.”

Others remind Paige to “ask some questions,” “interview some folks,” and to “keep explaining” what he shows us.

Paige notes that “I am being treated like a regular reporter.” And viewers are asking each other to share more hearts.

Paige reads more comments aloud and responds, and adds an update on closed Metro stops in the area. Before moving toward another possible interview, he asks viewers: “Would you guys like that?”

By now, viewers are gushing “You’re my hero,” “You are doing a great job,” and “Pulitzer award for you.”

We hear sirens and Paige reports “trying my best,” but notes that his battery is running low, and the audience practically begs him to recharge and hurry back.

Viewers offer advice on finding power and one reminds Paige that he had left only 12 minutes on the parking meter. Another offers to pay the fine if he gets a ticket.

We see choppers, news crews and live trucks. Then another law enforcement team pulls up we see them donning body armor. “You’re the man,” another viewer adds.

“Look at the young Lester Holt,” one commenter finally proclaims, and Paige pauses before responding that Holt is “my idol,” appearing stunned as he expresses his appreciation.

Another calls Paige “DC’s number one reporter.”

Long after the action settles down, staffers from large news organizations pop up on Periscope to cover a press conference at the scene.

If they are reading comments, they are not responding. A few hearts flicker on the screen.

Watch excerpts from Paige’s report:


Chaos continues to chase journalists experimenting with Periscope

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Jim MacMillan

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I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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We haven’t seen this level of technophobia following the emergence of any social media tools, platforms or innovations impacting journalism since the emergence of Twitter itself.

According to Jack Smith IV at “TV newscasters are terrified of Periscope.”

Meet the People Who Lost Their Jobs for Livestreaming

And that’s just the latest. Check out some earlier posts addressing the conflicts emerging around live-streaming video:

• Do video streamers belong in the penalty box? Or are raised phones “the new applause?”
• Issues taking shape around live streaming video

What do journalists think? I got a little feedback during some recent workshops:

• Periscope surfaces at #IRE15
• Journalists consider Periscope at Barcamp News Innovation
• Streaming journalism review


Weekend reading: Latest reports on streaming video

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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.


In concert: Periscope takes you to the show

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: I dropped in on live performances by The Who in Philadelphia, The Pixies in Cleveland and Hanson in Oklahoma, all within a few minutes Sunday night — thanks to Periscope users.

Not so long ago, you might have been escorted from the arena, or at least had your wrist slapped, had you raised a camera during a concert. But the popularity of smartphones changed everything.

And thanks now to the popularity of live-streaming mobile video applications, many of those smartphone users are streaming those concerts live.

A recent article from asks “Is mobile streaming theft?” But one expert they cited concedes that trying to shut it down is “like playing Whack-a-Mole.”

And Periscope founder Kayvon Beykpour told that attention to the pirated streams was overblown, adding that: “Generally, there’s way more media attention than there is a problem”

Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond even welcomed everyone watching on Periscope during a recent show, according to

And as I reported in an earlier post, Katy Perry says that when she sees phones: “that is the new applause.”

Want to learn more? The Wall Street Journal just published “Snapchat and Periscope: A Grown-Up’s Guide,” and Fortune has post on “How early adopters are using Meerkat and Periscope.”

How are you using them?


Journalists consider Periscope at Barcamp News Innovation

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Jim MacMillan

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I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Screen grabs from my demonstration.

Journalists gathered at Temple University all day Saturday for Barcamp News Innovation, our region’s national one-day un-conference on the future of news.

As one of the organizers, I waited until all of the early attendees planned their sessions and then scheduled mine on “Periscope for Journalism” during the last remaining hour — which doesn’t always pull the biggest crowd at a voluntary conference on a Saturday afternoon in the spring.

Yet, I found myself leading a session with about a dozen in attendance, including journalists from The Associated Press, WHYY, and The Scranton Times-Tribune, as well as journalism professors, students and more.

A quick survey revealed that some participants had already been producing Periscope videos, others had been just watching, and a few more had just seen articles which left them thinking they needed to know more.

I scrolled though to share my experiences and talked about discovery, curation, sharing, saving, ethics, rights and the shortcomings of the nascent live mobile video movement. And I talked about developing a new workflow for live redistribution but I have some work to do before sharing much more.

I learned from others in the room about the challenges of multitasking and adding yet one more social media responsibility while on the job. And we talked about leaderboards inside the new apps, which obviously drive eyeballs, although I hadn’t been giving them much consideration.

Finally, I led a live Periscope demonstration, using my phone, laptop, Quicktime and a projector — to share the process on a big screen.

Shortly after I left, one of the attendees looped me in on a Twitter conversation about Facebook integration for Meerkat, another possible game-changer.

Below, @PhillyCodeHound Seth Goldstein caught preaching about Periscope:

@jimmacmillan at #bcni15 talking about live streaming.

A photo posted by Seth Goldstein (@phillycodehound) on


Weekend reading: Issues taking shape around live streaming video

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Thursday night Periscopes, left to right above: I watched a parade in New Zealand marking the the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign, checked out the view from the Philadelphia Police helicopter and watched as some guy chased wild turkeys around his yard.

The recent explosion in live streaming video emerged so quickly that you can still read almost every news media report, and I have organized many according to issue below.

Advertising and Marketing:
• Periscope Has More Repeat Users Than Meerkat –
• Twitter Inc (TWTR) Periscope Service To Be A Major Ad Revenue Catalyst –
• Live-Stream Video Shows Big Potential For Content Marketers –
• Live Video Is The New Clickbait – TechCrunch

• 3 easy, enjoyable experiments CIOs could do with Meerkat or Periscope –
• Weekend Read: Do the Latest Live-Streaming Apps Make Sense for Business? – WSJ

• Meerkat Beats Twitter’s Periscope To Android Launch –
• Twitter Is Winning The Live Streaming Battle –
• Periscope Trumps Arch-Rival Meerkat In Tweets –

Critical concerns:
• All the Ways That Your Livefeed Is a Lie –
• Up Periscope! Twitter’s live-streaming app is exciting us, but here’s how it could be better – The Guardian
• Periscope is ALREADY on its way to becoming a parent’s worst nightmare – Daily Mail
• Students voice concerns about live video streaming apps –

• Periscope vs. Meerkat for Education – Work in Progress – Education Week

• How social media livestreams will impact political journalism – Columbia Journalism Review
• Periscoping Nano News: Fairfax County, Va., Live Streams Press Conference on Escapee –

• Live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope pose legal risks –
•What Does Periscope’s Live Mobile Streaming Mean to Media? –
• Periscope’s piracy problems: HBO issues takedown notices after Twitter’s app used to broadcast Game of Thrones –
• NFL Broadcast Copyrights Threatened By Periscope, Meerkat – CBS New York

• New Periscope, Meerkat Apps Changing How You See Politics – abc6onyourside

• The 10 types of people you will see on Twitter’s Periscope – The Guardian
• 3 ways people are using Periscope app live-streaming –
• Meerkat, Periscope making live streaming ‘interesting again’ –
• What Periscope and Meerkat mean to our lives –

• Periscope live streaming app raises new questions about privacy, citizen journalism – CBC News

• Up Periscope? Get ready for a new data overload –
• How will we index and search live video streams? –

What will you be streaming this weekend? Please consider looping in @Streamalism when you tweet.