SnapStream Blog

Evolving the Newsroom for Quickly & Accurately Breaking News

March 23 2021 by Sarah Eck

“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”

-Ellen Goodman

 

Speed and accuracy have always been strange bedfellows in the world of news media. The advent of the 24/7 news cycle changed the very idea of breaking news. And it increased the pressure on journalists to break news at a breakneck pace. Add social media to the mix and the need to feed the content beast feels nearly impossible. Then let’s not forget we are in the age of “fake news”, and the news industry must redouble its efforts around accuracy to regain public trust. Oh, and by the way, newsrooms are constantly being asked to do more with less as even the big-name outlets shrink their staffs.

No wonder burnout runs rampant among journalists of all stripes. 

With so many headwinds, what’s the recipe for success in breaking news successfully and accurately in today's media landscape?

Reimagine Your Workflows

Multi-color illustration of a multi-step workflow within an organization.

Uncomfortable as it may be, it’s time for newsrooms to take a real look at their workflows. Any news media organization that is not structured to truly be digital first will continue to face an uphill climb. 

Reexamine every part of the workflow - from research and writing to editing and publishing. Create parallel paths for activities where possible. Ensure your workflows and processes are optimized for speed and accuracy. Then take them to the next level by optimizing for production of the type of content that impact your audience reach and engagement most. Social media posts containing video clips continue to drive higher engagement and have the benefit of providing the visual proof audiences demand. 

And seek out the self-proclaimed “workflow nerds” in your midst. We guarantee your organization has at least a couple of them. They can help by taking a more holistic look across your organization's processes while you stay focused on your next story. They will ensure you rethink your processes to maximize speed, accuracy, and efficiency, and help you find the right tools to get you there.


Augment Your Angle

Illustrated image of two hands forming a square to indicate perspective or angle.Quantity of content is only one part of the equation. The sheer number of messages and news stories audiences see every day makes it challenging for digital journalists and social media managers to create content that truly sticks. In fact, it’s arguable that the angle a journalist brings to a story is more important now than ever. When every news outlet covers the same events, the content and quality of coverage determines who rises to the top and captures reader attention. 

By no means are we saying a quality angle negates the need for speed. You still have to be fast so you don’t miss out on riding the wave of a trending topic. However, the need to stand out among the noise does make a case for taking some time to carefully craft the messaging and context around a news artifact to provide the detail audiences desire.


Build a Searchable Digital Library

Right or wrong, certain topics have a tendency to stay in the news cycle, like high-profile public figures or global pandemics. Others at least rear their heads on a semi-regular basis, like wildfires, mass shootings, and corporate scandals. Shorten the timeline to finding the reference and fact-checking materials you need by building and maintaining a curated, searchable digital archive.

Illustrated image of search bar to indicate curated, searchable digital library.Sure, broad-based search engines may eventually help you find what you're looking for. Depending on how far back you're looking, it may be hit or miss whether the footage you need is still available. Curating your search universe to focus on your most-used sources saves precious minutes and allows you to be sure you're referencing reliable, accurate information. And we all know that when it comes to breaking news, every minute counts.

 

Curious how improvements like these look in practice? Check out our POLITICO case study

 

Why the Mars Video Clip Matters for Digital Content Creators

February 24 2021 by Sarah Eck

It’s official. Powerful audio and video moments can come from literally anywhere. We now know what a strong breeze sounds like on Mars. MARS. 

Visual of video image from Mars rover, Perseverance with overlay of waves to represent audio

 

 

For the first time, we are able to see the moment a rover touches down on another planet. Not only could we actually view the landing of the Perseverance, getting to also hear the sounds at Jezero Crater brings the environment on the red planet to life.

As if we weren’t already creating enough video content here at home, now we’ve got it coming from other parts of the universe. (Which is incredibly cool and makes our nerd hearts smile). It begs the question - if we can see and hear Mars - what might we be missing? If we can get video footage of nearly anything, won’t we expect to see everything? Is there any boundary to the potential of visual (or audio) proof?

 

Endless Possibilities 

Video hasn’t yet hit its peak - and likely won’t for some time. Yes, consumers are spending 86% more time consuming digital video than they did just five years ago. However, in many digital channels we still see large year over year increases in video consumption. Twitter is still experiencing gains in video use and watch time among its users, with no signs of slowing down.

With the growth of video-driven platforms such as TikTok, and the ability for anyone to capture a newsworthy event on their cell phone, we’ve only scratched the surface of building a collective video library of epic proportions.

As video sources and consumption grow, two significant challenges emerge for digital content creators: 

Let’s quickly explore both and a few things to think about in addressing each one head on.

 

Find Video Gold by Reducing Your Search Area

Broad-based search engines give us access to the whole world. A few keywords can lead to discovering new worlds, new foods, new products, new people and more. It can actually be a bit mind boggling. It's why a quarter of users click the first Google search result and few venture beyond the first page. 

But if you really think about it, you probably have a handful of go-to sources. Those that you trust and continually go back to. Most people do, whether they are content creators, social media managers, or video journalists. 

So as you think about ways to minimize the growing noise to find key moments or clips, look for tools and solutions that allow you to create your own curated search engine. Start building a library of video moments from your most-used sources, the ones you can count on to drive engagement. That way, when you need to find video content quickly, the universe you're searching in is drastically smaller.

 

Clips, But Make It Contextual

The rules for video in social media channels vary. For advertisers, a viewer's attention span is exceptionally short. The average watch time per video ad on Facebook is currently around 10 seconds. And some marketers have found the greatest success with YouTube pre-roll ads that are no longer than eight seconds. 

For news, educational, and entertainment-based video content, the story is a bit different.

Digital journalists have plenty of room to use longer, more context-driven video to build trust in news content found in social media channels. According to the Pew Research Center, while half of Americans get news on social media sites at least sometimes, 60% of them expect the news they see in these channels to be inaccurate. Only three in 10 say it helps them understand current events. Using video as the basis for crafting well-rounded narratives can go a long way in closing these gaps.

Longer-form, more detailed, context-rich videos can also have a positive monetary impact. BuzzFeed has reportedly increased its Facebook Watch revenue by approximately 20% through production of more videos that are more than three minutes in length. When there is a real story to tell, and it is told well in a way that promotes understanding, viewers will engage.

 

Maybe a massive influx of video from outside the boundaries of Earth isn't imminent - yet. But now is the time for digital content creators to develop methodologies for quickly seeing through the noise to get to the video moments that deliver context, build great stories, and are truly out of this world.

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.

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