New Snapcademy Clip Tip Alert! Snapcademy is a snackable series of bite-sized learnings showcasing how to fully utilize SnapStream's blazing-fast, online video workspace. Check out Lesson 2: Export to Twitter!
The Media Research Center (MRC) is a Conservative media watchdog group on a mission to neutralize media bias. Formed in 1987, the organization monitors dozens of hours of news every single day across 10-12 channels. In this blog, we will take a brief look at how SnapStream helped the MRC reimagine its archiving and workflows, make the transition to digital, and finally say goodbye to the VCR.
The MRC started as a monthly newsletter reporting on liberal media bias. To create the the newsletter, MRC staff recorded hours of TV news on videotapes - remember those? - and watched the broadcasts to provide analysis and a more balanced view. This process eventually gave way to video cards and DVDs, but still left the MRC with the challenge of effectively managing and storing archived footage.
The old process also meant that each show or segment could only be watched by one staffer at a time. Collaboration was a challenge and the only way to access recorded footage was to be on site. It simply became too much to manage.
The MRC initially implemented SnapStream's news and media video workspace for its ability to be a "super-sized DVR system" and remove the need for a physical archive. As the MRC transitioned from a paper newsletter to a blog, Twitter, and Facebook as its primary channels, SnapStream became an even more valuable asset for the team. MRC users routinely fill their Twitter feed with commentary about key moments as they are happening.
"Virtually all of our blog posts include video. And we're able to live tweet questions and answers from White House press conferences."
-Brent Baker, Vice President
Media Research Center
Using SnapStream, the MRC team has been able to deepen its bench of those monitoring and analyzing the news because multiple people can watch the same content at the same time. And, because the platform is so easy to use, the MRC even gets its interns onto the system to start monitoring media and pulling clips right out of the gate.
Control and flexibility also increased for the MRC through its use of SnapStream. The MRC's deep archive is now easily searchable and can be accessed by its team members from any location.
With SnapStream, the Media Research Center is able to more quickly and effectively fulfill its mission of neutralizing media bias. The team is able to analyze and provide commentary on coverage of pivotal events such as The State of the Union or political primaries within minutes.
The MRC has also been able to broaden its programs to monitor more types of news and video content and provide comprehensive analysis. The watchdog now has eight specific programs, more than 217,000 Twitter followers, and nearly 1.8 million followers on Facebook. Through all of its channels, the MRC generated an average of 449.6 million impressions each week last year.
"SnapStream is critical [to our workflow]. It's become the backbone of our ability to record all the video we need and have it organized and structured, whether we're looking for it a minute later, a day later, or a year later."
-Brent Baker, Vice President
Media Research Center
In Their Own Words
Want to hear the full story? Hear the MRC's Brent Baker in his own words by checking out the video below.
ABOUT THE MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER
The MRC’s commitment to neutralizing leftist bias in the news media and popular culture has had a critical impact on the way Americans view the liberal media. The MRC is able to effectively educate the public about left-wing media bias by integrating cutting-edge news monitoring capabilities with a sophisticated marketing operation.
The Media Research Center is a research and education organization operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are tax-deductible to the maximum extent of the law. The MRC receives no government grants or contracts nor does it have an endowment. The MRC raises its funds each year from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
Interested in more info about media bias?
Check out our article on how source bias impacts online media engagement and answer the question - was Marshall McLuhan right? Is the medium really the message?
Happy Friday! Here at SnapStream, our people are everything and we like to show them off. This week, we'd like to introduce you to infrastructure wizard, John:
How did you find SnapStream?
SnapStream sort of found me! I had seen a job listing online and it sounded very appealing, but I knew very little about the company. I applied since I was looking for a new opportunity at the time. Not long after that, I was paging through LinkedIn and saw a repost from our company President, Tom Cabanski. Since we had worked together previously, I reached out to him and inquired about the job. He gave me some great insights and the rest is history!
What is your role here?
I am the Infrastructure Manager for IT. I work with Kyle Walton (Platform Engineer) and Daryl Paid (Infrastructure Administrator) to continually deliver and improve our systems and services for our internal and external customers.
How have you grown with SnapStream?
From a technical perspective, I am continually learning about both the product and how we deliver content. My experience in data centers, cloud, virtualization, and service delivery is good but signal is new territory for me. Beyond growing my knowledge of signal, jumping into a new role to position a company is always a learning experience. There is not a solution that is one size fits all or even one size fits most, so growth happens by evaluating the past, present, and future of the company.
What is your favorite thing about SnapStream?
The product is great, but the people are the true key ingredient. The teamwork and collaboration, experience, and desire for success I experience here at SnapStream is inspiring. We're like a team-fed reactor!
What do you like to do when you aren't at SnapStream?
I am always outside whenever possible. Fishing, camping, backpacking, hiking, sightseeing, and spending time with my family is usually where you can find me. I am also an amateur radio geek of sorts as I have talked to people on other continents using ham radio. I've always been a musician and studied saxophone in college. So if I'm not outside, I'm singing a tune to my fellow SnapStreamers on Zoom.
It's that time of the quarter again! We’re excited to announce the release of SnapStream 21.3, which adds shared encoder tuning as well as several bug fixes for improved reliability and a better user experience.
What is Shared Encoder Tuning?
Your encoder can now support integrated tuning from multiple servers. Not sure whether this applies to your system or how to take advantage of this new feature? Check with your admin or reach out to our Support team.
Bug Fixes in 21.3
Master Nodes will no longer run any type of processor intensive tasks, such as showsqueezes for clip sharing.
Proxy file generation will halt and recover on the same cadence as recordings. This applies to Moco and on-prem SnapStream systems.
The previous Miscellaneous settings for integrated tuning have been removed in favor of supporting the new Shared Encoder Tuning.
These newest features are available as a software upgrade to your SnapStream news and media video workspace. Want to start using them? Have your administrator schedule an upgrade.
Our Support team will perform the upgrade via a remote session that usually takes no more than an hour so you can start using your new features quickly.
Good journalism is a superpower.
With current events constantly evolving, journalism has taken a different road over the last several years. However, there's one crucial aspect that has stayed the same: storytelling. Journalism will inform, evoke emotion, and provide entertainment all in one effort. Because of its complex nature, it's a difficult art to master. We recently sat down with John Battelle, the CEO and Co-Founder of The Recount Media, to discuss how journalism has evolved and where it's headed.
John has been in the industry for decades. With that, he has learned to transform and evolve with changing platforms, mediums, and audiences. Due to his flexibility in his craft, The Recount has reached over 800 million views and over 2 billion social impressions. He manages this while still maintaining journalism ethics and credibility. This feat, though not impossible, is impressive with many challenges.
For content creators, newsroom producers, and social media influencers, John provides a valuable insight into the world of media through video content.
The Old Method
Broadcasting and journalism have taken a drastic turn throughout the past few decades. Providing an audience with the news was originally a rigid task, which John referred to as "Suits on Set."
Traditionally, people received their news by watching a news broadcast of their favorite reporters sitting on a mandated set and reading off a teleprompter. Though effective, it lacked creativity and visual interest. The audience rarely received a direct image or video that represented current events. The broadcast team also put their own political spin on the content, as John mentions:
"They tend to be coming from a partisan point of view. You're either Team Blue or Team Red. And the other sight, sound, and motion that's well established in journalism is documentary, [which is] long form."
"It struck [my partner] John Heilemann and me when we were starting the company that we were very much in a post-linear moment. Television was going through a significant shift and a major disruption - probably analogous to the shift from broadcast to cable. [This included] new forms of distribution, new formats, and new uses of video."
What had initially shown a significant impact on the audience was beginning to fizzle out. Where families would previously sit down nightly for the evening news, attention spans started to dwindle. With that, new forms of journalism and broadcasting were required to keep attention. John was one of the first to hop on the new wave.
With the digital age hitting our generation like a freight train, it's no wonder that television and journalism have had to adjust. Several different factors led to this change.
With 3.78 billion social media users, there's an influx of sharing information and misinformation. Now (more than ever), less reputable sources can spread the news into the hands of billions of people. This has made a massive impact on the way that people digest and distribute information.
With the majority of Americans owning a mobile phone or tablet, information and news are now at our fingertips. This minimizes the need for people to catch the evening news or pick up the newspaper religiously. What was originally a popular format for news consumption has had a significant drop in views and readership. For passionate journalists, this has required a desperate change.
Need for Digestible Information
Because information is available at our fingertips, we consume more news than ever before. This has resulted in the attention span for readers and viewers dropping drastically. According to Wistia, attention for online videos begins to drop after only 30 seconds, with a significant decline occurring after 60 seconds.
Due to this, long-form journalists have had to adjust to short-form videos.
John and The Recount have been pioneers in leading the way to the new era of television. After identifying the new forms of distribution and format, the team at The Recount began to brainstorm new ways of news consumption.
"Our mission and our ambition are to essentially reinvent television. In order to do that, we had to start with a clean slate and say, 'Well, what would we make if we didn't have to follow the sort of form and rules of traditional television journalism?' And that's when we came up with what John Heilemann calls Hip-Hop News."
The idea behind Hip-Hop News is inspired by the ever-loved music genre, Hip Hop.
"The idea is [based] on the form of Hip Hop by sampling. And reimagining the melodies from a base of music across decades and across genres and styles. It was a remix of the culture."
The team applied this logic to television.
"The first products that we came out with when we launched about a year and a half ago, were remixes of all the videos that you find. Not only on traditional broadcast and linear cable, but also social media, audio, and even text, graphics, and graphical treatments."
This application led to a brilliant business plan, marketing idea, and hints towards the future of television news.
The Recount began creating short, digestible videos that could easily be shared across all platforms. Some videos were as short as four seconds but provided enough insight and news to generate buzz and share valuable information to the masses.
One of their most successful short videos got 100,000 views in only 30 minutes. This was a brief, four-second video that made a huge impact. The video was a comparison of Joe Biden versus Donald Trump when meeting the G7 leaders. The first clip showcased President Trump at the beginning of his presidency. As he met the G7 leaders, Trump pushed his way to the front so he could be seen by everybody. The video then introduces a clip of President Biden walking in a group with his arm around President McCrone.
"It was a bit that they were so strikingly different. These two images ran side by side for only four seconds, but it's incredibly powerful."
This is the concept of Hip Hop News. However, to master the art, journalists must be qualified and understand the context of the narrative they are trying to tell. It requires a lot of research, dedication, and time.
Future of Journalism
John also weighed in on the future of journalism. With more and more outlets transitioning to a digital model, there's a shift in news and broadcasting. As this shift has come to fruition, there has been a need for monetization and content management systems to support a new model.
Though there is still a large change that needs to occur to optimize new journalism, the future is near. John provides insight:
As John and The Recount continue to challenge modern-day journalism and provide unique insights into an ever-changing world, there's an opportunity to shift and improve while continually appealing to a broader audience.
For journalism lovers and broadcasters, there's value in understanding the changing news consumption habits of society. Applying recent trends, statistics, and knowledge can ensure that you stay on top of your game. Though this provides a significant struggle, it's both exciting and interesting to find new ways to produce information for easy consumption.
Most of us find ourselves in the role of content creator these days, whether we're trying to build a brand, disseminate news, provide commentary on current events, or figure out why we've been sucked in to using both IG Reels AND TikTok. (Okay - that last one is probably just me).
As a result, we now have more tools at our disposal to create and edit video than ever before. Many of them don't require any video editing skills to use them effectively and a ton of them are free to use.
Sounds great, right?
I thought I'd try out a couple of screen recording tools to create some video content leveraging some third-party sources to augment one of my recent blogs. I figured, if a video content tool is truly easy to use, even my geriatric millennial self will be successful. A quick Google search turned up dozens of options.
The short version? I got the job done, but the whole experience was cumbersome, time-consuming, and the end result was just okay. Here are my three big takeaways if you're considering using a screen recorder for creating and editing clips of key video moments.
You Have to Know Your Source Content Inside & Out
For the purposes of my test, I was looking to grab some key moments from a virtual event I'd attended the week prior. There were a number of sessions with awesome content and I wanted to snag a few of the best quotes. I could generally recall what I was looking for but didn't know when in each session the key moment had happened.
In this case, some of the sessions had provided transcripts which allowed me to find the correct timestamps to at least begin my search and start the edit. Without those, I'd have been stuck rewatching hours of content to find the moments I was seeking, making the effort take even longer than it would have.
When going back to clip content that has happened previously, a better alternative would be a tool that provides a level of search capability or built-in transcription to find the exact moment you're looking for.
Be Prepared to Compromise on Precision
Starting and ending clips at the right spot can be tough, especially if you're aiming for a smooth end product devoid of "ums", "ahs" and other verbal transitions. I found this to be the trickiest part of the edit for two main reasons.
First - the screen recorders I tried are all built to accommodate recording new content. Meaning, they start with a countdown - which varies from 3 to 5 seconds, depending on the tool - before actually starting to record. This would be helpful if I were trying to record something new using my built-in webcam and microphone. Less so for clipping existing content. This feature meant that I either needed to have the reflexes of a cat (which I don't) or that I'd have to make sure I recorded more than I needed so I didn't miss the beginning of the moment I wanted.
Which leads to the second point on precision. When it came to editing out the extra seconds up front or at the end, I almost always had to leverage a fade in or fade out to cover the bits I couldn't edit out. This is because the mechanism to select portions to cut was limited to a slider bar. So the precision of getting to the right point was limited to my ability to get that bar lined up with the correct second. Spoiler: It took multiple tries and even a couple of re-records to get it right.
What I found myself wanting was an option to advance or back up either by the second or by the frame to make sure I got the exact cut I needed so each clip would be as clean and precise as possible.
You'll Get What You Pay for When it Comes to Quality
I love a good free resource. Who doesn't? Content teams can't thrive without a few good ones in their arsenal. When it comes to clipping and editing video, however, I'd argue free isn't always the way to go if you're aiming for a high-quality end product.
Among the free screen recorders I tried, the quality of my source content dictated the quality of the final clip. Meaning, there weren't options for maximizing resolution and, with a couple, there actually appeared to be some slight degradation as far as the overall clarity of the video.
Additionally, there weren't options for exporting other formats beyond a straightforward clip. To really make the most of the moments, I'd have preferred being able to loop some of them or even create a GIF or two. Particularly for the time invested to find the moments and pull/edit the clips, I'd have liked to walk away from the whole experience with a number of variations on the output to feed all my different digital channels.
Will I use a free screen recorder again? For instances where I need to record my own VO or video over a presentation I probably will. They make a ton of sense for this type of use and are easy enough to figure out. For clipping and editing video content, however, there are better options out there that result in a higher-quality end product and work more intuitively and quickly.
Each customer uses our news media video workspace in their own way, but it's always easy to see when trending moments command universal attention (you know, like billionaires heading to space).
As usual, July 2021 was packed with big news stories and our customers were all over them. Content producers were relentless in their quest to curate powerful video moments.
For the month of July, SnapStream users conducted 31,687 searches about people and events around the globe. Let's check out some of the biggest search topics.
Tokyo Olympics - After an extra year of waiting, the Summer Olympics finally returned, albeit with adjustments for health and safety. Gone were the roaring crowds of fans from around the globe, but that didn't stop folks from watching and delivering commentary. From hot takes on Simone Biles' decision to opt out of the team competition to Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart's comedic takes on every event, gold-medal-worthy moments were everywhere.
Climate Change, Floods and Wildfires - listing the places NOT experiencing floods, wildfires, and other climate change-driven events might take less time than enumerating the ones that are. Oh, and let's not forget that July was the month that a burst pipe literally set the ocean on fire.
Billionaires, Bezos and Branson - This century's space race is being driven by billionaires. While things were heating up in July here on the ground, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos set their sights on the sky. Branson became the first person to ride into space on a rocket he helped fund. Bezos took flight just over a week later.
And That’s Not All
Other big searches this month included:
- All-Star Game - The American League won its eighth-straight MLB All-Star Game and NY Mets first baseman Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby for his second time.
- Haiti - Haitian President Jovenel Moise was killed on July 7. More than 30 individuals were initially implicated in the assassination plot. The Haitian government recently requested a UN commission to lead a probe into the killing.
- Abbott - Texas Governor Greg Abbott committed to calling "special session after special session" until Republican-backed voting rights legislation passes in his state. Texas House Democrats left the state in an effort to break quorum and block the legislation.
- Delta - The Delta variant of COVID-19 hit the US in full force in July, with Missouri at the epicenter of the surge. By the end of July, the Delta variant accounted for the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases.
Lots to see in July, with powerful video moments to capture all over the world. So, keep searching, keep snapping, and we look forward to seeing what captures everyone's attention next month.
Howdy! Here at SnapStream, our people are everything and we like to show them off. This week, we'd like to introduce you to our customer experience mastermind, Rhetta:
How did you find SnapStream?
A former colleague reached out to me about the opportunity to establish a customer success program here at SnapStream. Once I met the team here, I knew I'd found my "tribe". Building a CSM program has been such a rewarding experience. My passion is taking care of customers and helping them tell stories using our product.
What is your role here?
Director of Customer Experience
How have you grown with SnapStream?
Heck yea, by leaps and bounds! There are so many exciting ways to interact with our customer base. We're constantly seeking new and innovative ways to increase engagement, drive product value and provide amazing customer experiences.
What is your favorite thing about SnapStream?
100% the people and company culture. I joined the company during the pandemic and wondered if I would be able to make meaningful connections working remotely. SnapStream made it easy to climb aboard and join the team that I now consider my work family. It's like going to work every day and getting to work with the cool kids. How cool is that!
What do you like to do when you aren't at SnapStream?
I love to read. Any genre will work as long as the characters are richly developed and the plot is complex and multi-layered. When I'm not reading you can catch me spending time with my grandgirlz, the dynamic duo, Kai (4) and Kensley (3 months).
Like many media organizations, MailOnline's video and picture desk teams were using a variety of screen recorders and other grabbing tools to capture video-based news content. An encounter with the team from SnapStream at an event showed the world’s largest English-language newspaper website that there was a more efficient, effective way to equip and empower its global team.
In addition to the challenges and lower clip quality associated with using screen grab/screen recording tools, MailOnline also struggled with providing US-based broadcasts to its teams in other geographies. Getting this type of video content to the video desk in other markets took time and caused the team's overall workflow to move too slowly in a fast-paced news cycle.
And, like the rest of us, MailOnline had to grapple with transitioning all of its workflows to function remotely in 2020. Having a solution that didn't require its content production staff to be on the network was paramount to keeping things moving amid the global pandemic.
MailOnline implemented SnapStream's cloud-based news and media video workspace primarily to enable its video and picture desk personnel. The team primarily relies on the platform's watch, search, and clipping features to monitor major broadcasts, find key moments as they happen, and create high-quality clips that can be exported and edited into larger packages.
SnapStream also made the transition to working remotely much easier for the MailOnline team when everyone had to start producing content from their home offices.
"Without SnapStream, working from home would have become a huge problem. Moving to cloud helped when COVID struck because it removed the element of needing to be on our own network."
-Alex Benitez, Technology Operations Manager, US
And with SnapStream, the MailOnline's global team can watch major TV events - like Oprah's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry - at the same time, in real time, no matter where they are located.
With SnapStream, MailOnline's video and picture desk teams are able to quickly and easily watch, search, and clip US-based broadcast content from anywhere in the world. Use of the platform has become so ubiquitous throughout the organization that it has become part of the organization's standard editorial toolset.
MailOnline has seen the speed and performance of its teams increase exponentially with SnapStream in their arsenal. And the best part? The team is able to onboard new users with minimal lift, even if they don't have prior video or photo editing experience.
"Generally speaking, I don't even train people anymore. I just send them the invite and they figure it out right away."
-Alex Benitez, Technology Operations Manager, US
In Their Own Words
Don't just take our word for it. Get the full scoop directly from Alex at MailOnline simply by clicking on the video below.
UK-born MailOnline (www.dailymail.co.uk) is the world’s largest English-language newspaper website reaching over 225 million unique monthly visitors globally, 75 million of those coming from the United States. MailOnline is known for its unique blend of world news, entertainment/celebrity buzz, pop culture editorial, female lifestyle editorial, and phenomenal images.
MailOnline has one of the web's most advanced advertising programs incorporating nearly every form of advertising from mobile, social and video, to native and e-commerce, with plans for more. Its robust analytics assure a brand-friendly environment currently enjoyed by some of today's top global advertising brands. In candid video interviews, visitors call the site "addictive, revealing, funny, honest, and probing."
MailOnline is a division of UK-based DMGT, an international portfolio of digital, information, media and events businesses, which employs over 12,000 people and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:DMGT.L).
Origin stories aren't just for superheroes and comic books. And we always love an opportunity to talk about how SnapStream went from a consumer DVR product to the news and media video workspace it is today.On a recent episode of Small Biz Insider podcast our own Rakesh Agrawal joined Maggie Martin to talk about SnapStream's continued evolution and the importance of video-based storytelling. Here are a few key moments and takeaways you won't want to miss.
The Duality of Video Proof and Need for Context
We believe what we see and hear. And in the era of "fake news," being able to see events in real-time with our own eyes takes on new relevance. But if seeing is believing, then we also need to be more vigilant than ever about the potential for video manipulation.
This is where context becomes so important. Just as video can be used to clarify, it can also be used to obfuscate or play into confirmation bias. Narratives and details that accompany videos - particularly when it comes to video clips - are often as vital as the video proof itself. The way narratives and video work together are key to deepening understanding.
Video Content Sources are More Numerous than Ever
The nature of broadcast television and video content has changed significantly in the 20+ years SnapStream has been in business. Part of our charge has been to evolve right along with the rapid proliferation of video content sources.
With roots still planted in broadcast TV, SnapStream continues make our news and media video workspace compatible with a number of sources - from press feeds like CNN Newsource to live events and Twitch streams. Enabling content creators and storytellers of all kinds to easily harness video moments regardless of where they appear is at the heart of what we do.
Doing More with Less is the Name of the Game
As the news cycle speeds up and video sources proliferate, production, news, public affairs and social media teams are asked to run leaner and meaner each year. Publish more content, never miss a moment, stay ahead of competitors - but do it with smaller teams and fewer tools.
Therein lies SnapStream's secret sauce. We make it fast and easy for any content creator - regardless of their technical or editing ability - to create frame-accurate, social-media-ready video content.
To hear about SnapStream's long relationship with late night TV as well as more of Rakesh's insights on building a successful Houston-based business, check out the full episode via the Greater Houston Partnership site or download via your preferred podcast app.
ABOUT SMALL BIZ INSIDER
Small Biz Insider is a podcast highlighting the innovative business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders of the greater Houston area who are making a big impact in the small business community. It’s part of a digital series produced by the Greater Houston Partnership.
Now in its third season, Small Biz Insider has featured dozens of guests who have keen insight into Houston’s small business community, from branding to financial advice and more.
What is SnapStream? There's an unlimited amount of video content out there: 24/7 news channels, breaking news events, sports, talk shows, awards galas, entertainment shows, and so much more.
SnapStream makes a real-time news and media search engine that makes it fast and easy to find the video moments that support our customers telling great stories.