Set up alerts to catch live streaming news video

Follow me:

Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
Follow me:

Latest posts by Jim MacMillan (see all)

Above: Breaking news reporter Tim Pamplin tweeted from @nightcam when he streamed video of this fire in Detroit Tuesday night. The view shown above demonstrsates how it looked on my laptop browser, after I followed a live link from Tweetdeck to, but the archive view will work only if you are reading this post on a mobile device.

Periscope exploded onto the scene as a breaking news tool on the day it was released, when users turned their phones toward a disaster in New York City. But what about news that doesn’t take place so close to our global media epicenter?

I haven’t yet spotted one of those articles telling me which newsies to follow — as we have seen with other social media platforms — although I suspect we will be inundated with them sooner or later.

For now, I am setting up Tweetdeck columns on my laptop with search words including “Periscope” and “live,” while sometimes adding “police,” “fire” or “explosion,” for example.

Then, I open column-specific preferences by clicking the icon at the top, right corner of the new search column I just created.

Click on “Alerts” and “ “Popups,” which — you guessed it — will make alerts pop up on your laptop screen whenever somebody auto-tweets their Periscope videos and uses those keywords in the title.

The Periscope app automatically adds “Periscope’ and “live” to the tweet. However, if the user doesn’t title the report with useful search words — or if they don’t set up Periscope to tweet at all — we’re pretty much out of business, as far as I can tell.

(I had been also experimenting with “breaking news” as a search term but a lot of people joke about it, for example when their friends take out the trash or do the dishes.)

Here’s a mobile trick, albeit imprecise: If you find a user who streams breaking news, you can swipe right while watching on your phone and click to “follow” them on Periscope. Then, you can go into your iPhone Notifications and set it to alert you onscreen when those you follow are active.

But I have to admit that I don’t think these strategies will scale if the practice grows in popularity, as I suspect it will. So, let’s hope better tools come along — and soon!

I have spent less time with Meerkat and, and the latter product doesn’t even use searchable titles, although they tell me they will in an upcoming release.

Meanwhile, please leave a comment below if you have others ideas for tracking live videos and I will share them in future posts.