Weekend reading: Streamalism 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: Frame grabs show Periscope coverage of Thursday’s #PhillyisBaltimore march by @jimmacmillan, @basslabbers and @phillydotcom.

Traffic spiked on streamalism.org this week, with all the attention to reporting from Baltimore. So, for the benefit of those just getting here: This site is still new enough that you can go back and read it all in one sitting. Here is every post, with the oldest at the top:

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Periscope users follow justice protests across the nation Wednesday night

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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: Journalists were streaming across the states Wednesday, from left: @micnews in NYC, @AtwaterWCVB in Boston and @JMichaelsNews in Baltimore.

This site was launched to take a comprehensive look at the intersection between journalism and live streaming video platforms. But it’s difficult to ignore the lessons we can learn from Pericope coverage of the broadening justice movement over the past few days.

For the first time Wednesday night, both mobile and desktop Internet users could follow video reports from demonstrations across the US — live and unfiltered — and without the support or control of traditional cable or network news programming.

And rather than communicating on back-channels — like using Twitter hashtags while watching the news — users can now converse in the same place at the same moment, right inside the mobile applications.

In addition to the protests shown at the top of this post, other users tweeted their coverage from the streets of Washington, Minneapolis, Seattle and Albuquerque — and possibly other cities.

Periscopers also streamed coverage from gatherings in Indianapolis and Tulsa, but there were no Twitter links to be found, possibly due to user settings. So, there could have been more.

Unfortunately, Periscope links go dead 24 hours after streams are completed, and the videos are lost  — unless users or viewers make other accommodations to save them. (A future post will take a good look at the full spectrum of present shortcomings.)

While Pericope uptake among journalists appears to be accelerating, there are still very few others streaming from the demonstrations, as we discussed in the last post.

Next, 1,800 people have RSVP’d on Facebook for a “Philly is Baltimore” demonstration planned for late Thursday afternoon— here in the City of Brotherly Love.

To find streaming videos, search Twitter for “Live” plus “Periscope” plus “Philadelphia,” “Philly” or “phl.” “PhillyisBaltimore” seems too long, but time will tell.

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Continuing coverage from Baltimore enables deeper look at live-streaming mobile video journalism

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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: Police deploy tear gas Tuesday night in Baltimore, as seen through the Pericope reporting of Paul Lewis, Washington correspondent for The Guardian.

After following live-streamed reports from Saturday’s march and Monday’s violence in Baltimore, we’re beginning to find more thoughtful responses emerging in response to the new practice.

A post on Medium says that: “While the virtual can never be a direct substitute for the physical, tools like Periscope can help to capture the golden moments of breaking news by helping journalists establish an authentic developing narrative.” Author Saul of Hearts, who also writes for Iside.com continues: “Precious moments such as (Paul) Lewisinterviews with community members display the power of #livejournalism.

Meanwhile, a post by Selena Larson at The Daily Dot points out that while a handful of journalists have been live-streaming from Baltimore: “Neither Periscope or Meerkat seems to have caught on with regular citizens,” and “haven’t quite lived up to the hype of being go-to sources of real-time news in conflict areas or protest zones.”

As Larson explains, sharing and saving is still very difficult with the latest mobile video apps, compared with “channels already popular among the masses—and, most importantly, their friends and family,” such as Vine, Instagram, and Twitter’s built-in video.

Meanwhile, while Mashable and Techcrunch both reported yesterday that Periscope picked up a million users within ten days of launch, The Verge reminded us that Twitter now reports having 300 million active users.

Finally, I spotted a couple of people tweeting last night that the BBC’s Newsnight apparently went live on air from Baltimore while using Persicope:

And then this morning, the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan tweeted: “LIVE on #Periscope: #Baltimore police and troops at national harbour..

Is there a good reason why American news organizations aren’t taking the lead?

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There’s something happening here: Periscope in play during #FreddieGray protests in Baltimore

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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: Periscope users @dmitrisobol, @thefancyfriend and @alexandrafox5dc streamed live from the #FreddieGray demonstrations Saturday in Baltimore.

Large crowds marched through Baltimore on Saturday in protest following the case of Freddie Gray, who died earlier this month while in police custody. A handful of those present shared live video throughout the day using Pericope, a one of several popular new live-streaming applications.

“A day of mostly peaceful rallies to protest the death of Freddie Gray turned confrontational as dark fell over Baltimore on Saturday with demonstrators smashing the windows on police cars, blocking traffic near the Inner Harbor and shouting, “Killers!” at officers dressed in riot gear,” according to the Baltimore Sun, which continued: “The protest was the largest of daily gatherings in the week since Gray died. The 25-year-old had sustained spinal cord injuries while in police custody following his arrest April 12 near Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore.”

Periscope does not enable simple searching, sharing or saving — like Twitter or most or social media platforms — and user settings can make it even more difficult to find content. But there are solutions for discovering and curating user-generated reports.

Twitter’s Advanced Search page is a good place to start, where by adding “Periscope,” “live” and “Baltimore” in the “All of these words” field, you can see all of the related tweets.

(Working with the “Dates” and “Places” fields has not been yielding good results when searching for Periscope videos.)

When you get to the “Results” page, click the tiny “All” text-link near the top of the page to see a complete list.

You could also try replacing “Baltimore” with “FreddieGray” to see additional results, although tweets using both terms will appear in both sets of results.

However, this process is helpful only when Periscope users select the option to share a tweet before they “Start Broadcast” on a new stream.

Another effective method for tracking tweeted streams involves setting up search columns while using Twitter’s Tweetdeck desktop application, which Apple users can find in the App Store.

Then, you can set Tweetdeck to alert you with sounds and/or on-screen alerts when a tweet matches your search terms.

Archived videos from other users can be viewed only when using mobile devices — and only for 24 hours — but even under those conditions, some video pages inexplicably lack play buttons, rendering them useless except for confirming that the videos were streamed earlier.

In their haste to get rolling, it also seems as if many users fail to plant good search words in their titles, making them very difficult to locate. But if I spot a user share one video from an event, I then check their Twitter streams for additional live video links.

And some users continue to insist on shooting video horizontally, causing a little more confusion.

When you see what appears to be a cut between shots, the user has toggled from one camera to the other, either forward-facing or facing back at the user.

Periscope was clearly the app of choice this weekend in Baltimore. I spotted only one stream tagged #FreddieGray while searching Twitter for links to Meerket videos, but that screen showed only a view of the user’s TV as he watched news reports at home.

In every case, finding, saving and sharing live-streaming video has been much more labor intensive, and requires much more time and attention than other social media platforms.

But the effort can also lead to an important new layer of user-generated content.

We’re also going to need to get used to explaining those hearts on the Periscope screen when we copy the videos to other media.

Below: This video includes excepts from Saturday’s #FreedieGray demonstrations in Baltimore from users..

@dmitrosobol – an MBA, business strategist and “truth seeker” from Delaware,

@AlexandraFox5DC – a television reporter from Washington, and..

@TheFancyFriend – a fashion and lifestyle blogger from New York:

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