SnapStream Blog

How COVID-19 Impacted News Consumption

October 07 2021 by Kevin Johnson

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There’s no doubt that the world at large has changed drastically since March 2020. With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, change has become the constant in our lives. Work became remote, people became quarantined, businesses suffered, and news media consumption took several interesting turns.

With constant updates regarding the pandemic, there has been an influx of viewers seeking comfort, refuge, and information through news media. The Reuters Institute's Digital News Report for 2021, unearthed several key findings. We will discuss four ways that COVID-19 has changed news consumption. 

Shift to Digital 

Some sources suggest that screen time has drastically increased during the pandemic. In fact, HR News reported that time on mobile devices had gone up a whopping 76% since the start of the pandemic. This statistic shows that people have drastically increased the time they spend searching the web and social media. 

Because of this, viewers are constantly seeking access to news on their mobile devices. Scrolling through media to read updates, news articles, and videos is common for those seeking information about COVID-19.

According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, data suggests that significant attention is brought to mainstream outlets through Facebook and Twitter's ever-popular platforms. This presents an alternate avenue (than TV and newspapers) for news media companies to stay relevant, reach their target audience, and develop engaging content. 

A Demand for Accessible Updates

COVID-19 changed the perceived pace of news. Information from the morning could drastically change by the evening. With scientists and doctors constantly learning new information and politicians consistently trying to make adequate decisions for their countries, few things remained static. 

Because of the nature of the unknown, people were constantly seeking answers by searching the web and social media. This provided a sense of stability and comfort during a difficult time. 

The mass hysteria and fear have led to viewers wanting on-demand, accessible updates. Now more than ever, viewers want to log onto social media and have the most recent update at their fingertips. 

This presented a unique challenge for journalists and news outlets. There was a constant need to stay updated on politicians’ announcements and scientific developments. Beating other news media companies to the punch, to deliver updates first, was essential to become a reputable and trusted source. 

Decline in Print Demand 

Publishing and delivering print posed a unique challenge through the pandemic. While still respected, traditionally printed media has struggled to keep up with the on-demand nature that viewers now expect. According to Reuters Institute Digital News Report:

“print newspapers have seen a further sharp decline almost everywhere as lockdowns impacted physical distribution, accelerating the shift towards a mostly digital future”. 

Public Avoidance 

To say that COVID-19 was full of discouraging information and pessimism is an understatement. News has traditionally highlighted tragic information. The traditional credo "if it bleeds, it ledes" is known for a reason -- it's an effective way to increase viewership and engagement. However, with the pandemic dominating the news cycle, consumption of negative news reached higher levels.

Because of this, some viewers opted to avoid the news alltogether. This was likely a necessary decision based on mental wellness and to avoid overwhelm. However, this trend, of course, worried news outlets. 

To combat this, news organizations had to weigh how they could implement more positive, engaging, and uplifting ways to deliver information. Instead of focusing on the gloom of the situations, outlets could put a positive spin on the current state of the world. 

Conclusion

Many businesses had to pivot to survive during the pandemic. This was no different for news media. In order to survive, thrive, and overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19, media outlets had to change their methods and timelines of providing reliable information to viewers. 

Though this presented difficulties, many news outlets rose to the occasion by staying on-trend and altering protocols and processes when necessary.

 

Want to break news faster to keep up with the demand? Check out how SnapStream can help you be the first on Social Media with our cloud-based news and media workspace!

Claim Your Free SnapStream Trial

Problems with Modern Journalism

September 22 2021 by Celina Dawdy

 

Problems with Modern Journalism

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Over the past decade, the delivery methods for journalism have changed significantly. As traditional delivery channels, like the newspaper, get consumed less frequently, news organizations have had to change how they reach their audience. 

 

SnapStream recently met with John Battelle from The Recount. Calling upon his successful career, John shared his thoughts and ideas about modern journalism. John’s team was a pioneer in providing digestible, engaging information in the form of short videos on the internet. His method has spread like wildfire and provided significant interactions and engagement. 

With massive changes in broadcasting and journalism, many problems have arisen. We discuss, six main concerns that need to be examined to ensure a fair and adequate approach to sharing the news:

Misinformation

With more people having access to information sharing, more misinformation is shared than ever before. Media is now out of the hands of the passionate experts that founded their careers on active research and understanding. As this new wave of media has taken over, anybody can share information, and that information can spread among the masses. John details:

“Journalism has essentially been hijacked by extremely sophisticated and sometimes unsophisticated disinformation and misinformation campaigns,” John continues, “You have the ability to create missing disinformation and then distribute it as quickly as that clip we were talking about, which is, in fact, journalism, that every frame of that clip has been verified to be true and accurate. When you have that kind of speed where 100,000 people can see something in half an hour, and then 10 million people can see it by the end of the day - you have something that is a very big concern.” 

Misinformation goes beyond poor journalism and internet trolls trying to get a rise. In fact, it can occur when a team doesn’t fully understand or convey the context of a clip or photo. The context behind each source is as important, if not more important, than the source itself. 

John weighs on the importance of ethics in journalism:

 “There’s actually no secret to it. It’s just called editorial standards. This is what every newsroom has, and hopefully always will. You want to make sure you’re not pulling things out of context and that you’re delivering accurate information. And if you have a process by which you get it wrong, you acknowledge that and correct it.” 

More Bias

Today, people can consume information directly from social media. Because of this, there is a broadening chasm in content sources, driven by the individual consumer. This can create siloed thinking and foster source bias.

For example, if an individual appreciates the information shared from one particular source, they can “subscribe” to it and see everything else that source shares. People often subscribe to networks and information producers that support their political, moral, or ethical beliefs. This results in them no longer consuming information that doesn’t support their bias. 

According to Helpful Professor

“Without the need to have widespread mass appeal, new media target dispersed niche and ideological markets. Conservatives begin to only consume conservative media; and liberals only consume liberal media. People begin to only reinforce their personal views, causing social polarization.”  

Of course, this presents a significant issue and pushes people of various views further apart. People are less apt to consume information that doesn’t support their beliefs, resulting in them becoming more polarized. 

Monetization 

With streaming and new delivery mechanisms for media, the way news sources get paid also had to change. Traditionally, there were two revenue streams for linear television. Says John:

“One of them is cable carriage. So CNN gets paid a lot of money by the cable operators to run CNN on the bundle that they’re selling to their cable subscribers. The second, of course, is advertising.” 

Both traditional streams of revenue resulted in getting paid to be included - not watched. As long as your station or show created enough hype to get people interested, then you would see a paycheck coming in. This, however, has changed dramatically with modern television. 

According to John, modern media follows a new model:

“What we need, and fortunately, what we have is venture capital, which is risk capital that is willing to pay for the costs of making what you make. The revenue models start to get established in a turbulent and disrupting market. That’s exactly what television news is right now. That doesn’t mean we don’t have any revenue. We have event revenue, newsletter revenue, and revenue on social platforms.” 

However, monetization in modern media isn’t perfected by any means. It has a long way to go. John states:

 “I think individual creators should be able to make as much money as possible. But the truth is that media companies are very important players in the platform space. And to date, platforms have done a terrible job of supporting at-scale media companies. So, hopefully that’ll change over the next few years.” 

John also touched on the hope that advertising revenue will eventually be more readily available. 

Heavy Competition 

With traditional media, there were major players in the field, and small-time media outlets had a difficult time coming up. Though this was bad news for smaller outlets, it managed the amount (and quality) of information that the audience received. People weren’t as bombarded with news and didn’t require to sift through several different sources to find the truth. 

With modern media, there is heavy competition. Any individual or small media company can suddenly share information to the masses. As recently stated, this has led to significant sharing of misinformation. However, it’s also created an unhealthy consumption for the average consumer. 

According to Helpful Professor, “Small websites with fresh takes for niche audiences popped up, crowding the market with information. In this crowded media market, there is competition in all niches, and brands need to have a fresh take to get attention.” 

This results in seeking an angry captive audience instead of truthseekers. John stated:

 “It’s time honored. Get them angry, get them pissed off that the other guy is wrong, right? Make them scared that the other guy might be right and they’re coming from you. And they’re going to take away your X, Y, Z.” 

Software Incapabilities

With moving online, news sources have had to say goodbye to old tools, resources, and software. News outlets now have to adapt to taking their business online. This includes an entire new set of technology to ensure their production goes smoothly. John discussed some of the struggles that The Recount Media has had in transitioning and areas that other outlets might face issue

 “If you’re a startup, you have to be very careful about whether or not you put resources towards something that is not core to your customer facing mission. Our customer facing mission is to answer important questions for our audience - not be built on robust enterprise software.” 

John continued on to discuss some of the software he’s implemented for a smooth transition, including Slack, the messaging system:

 “As a matter of fact, we’ve built on top of Slack, a production system, which automates a lot of our posting, publishing, arching, and certainly all of our editorial conversation around this clip and that clip. Slack is literally at the center of how we produce.” 

For new players in the game, finding software solutions and adapting to new technology might be difficult, but it’s a necessary movement for the success of the business. 

Children and Inappropriate Information

Now, more than ever before, children can access inappropriate news and information. In traditional media, adult-appropriate content would be shown in the evenings, when the children were to be in bed. Media powerhouses were careful to share appropriate information to keep their broadcast family-friendly. 

However, with social media being inundated with haunting news and unfortunate events, children can gain access to photos, text, and videos. Helpful Professor weighs in, “As children have greater access to adult information, the innocence of childhood is being decayed earlier than ever.” 

Conclusion

Needless to say, modern media has a long way to go before matching the strength, power, and editorial standard of traditional media. Despite this, there are several positives to there being a change of consumption and sharing. In order to ensure a more stable media future, outlets and individual creators must be aware of the six downfalls, and work together to combat them. 

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?

 

 

The Best in #jschool Blogging

August 09 2016 by Sara Howard

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Modern journalism is a tough business that's rapidly changing. The internet is still trying to make the distinction between a journalist and a blogger, so finding truly insightful, thought-provoking content can be difficult. The following are just a few of the journalists and organizations that we believe are helping to shape the future of journalism. 

 

jbentonniemanlogo.png1. NiemanLab

@NiemanLab | @jbenton

Fellow Southerner Joshua Benton is the founder/director of the Nieman Journalism Lab and with his background in newspaper, he adds a traditional touch to blogging (which we appreciate). By their own account, “Nieman Lab is a project to try to help figure out where the news is headed in the Internet age”. Nieman Journalism Lab is attempting to redefine how journalism works. Nieman Lab is “fundamentally optimistic” about the future of journalism, and we think they’ve got the right idea. Our pick - Benson's piece on the lack of geographic diversity in American news.

 



JayRosenPressThinkLogo.png2. Press Think

@jayrosen_nyu

Jay Rosen wants to draw a line between “media” and “press”. Rosen encourages the journalists to take a more active interest in citizenship, improving public debate, and enhancing life, as evidenced through PressThink. We like Rosen for his critical approach to journalism and lack of fear when it comes to proding the industry. Our pick - Tone poem for the "leave it there" press. There's also an excellent interview podcast between Jay Rosen and Joshua Benton (mentioned above) that is worth a listen.

 



CJR.png3. Columbia Journalism Review 

@CJR | @kylepope

One of the most respected voices in Journalism, CJR has been helping to shape journalistic ideas since it's first published issue in 1961. We're especially interested to see where new editor and publisher Kyle Pope will take the publication, who promises to bring an international emphasis to CJR coverage. Our pick - Woman's Work. The twisted reality of an Italian freelancer in Syria

 


 

AEJMClogo.png4. AEJMC

@AEJMC

While AEJMC isn't quite a standard blog publication, we still like to include it in our list for it's dedication to advancing education in journalism, research and promoting the "free flow of communication". With it's journals, publications, conferences and interest groups, AEJMC is sure to get you immersed in the world of academic journalism. Our pick - a recap of the most recent AEJMC conference in Minneapolis. 

 

 

 

GIF the debates and the fun never stops!

March 07 2016 by Eric Cohn
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The 2016 presidential election cycle has been as unpredictable as any election in recent memory with over 20 sanctioned debates, numerous “town hall” discussions and countless candidate speeches. News organizations have been overwhelmed with an unprecedented volume of visual content to share with their viewers.

While debates have been broadcast on television since 1960 (the famous Kennedy-Nixon debates), there has been a seismic shift in the way the presidential debates have been covered in the media this election cycle. The New York Times said it best: political GIFs have become the new sound bites of the 2016 campaign season.

Animated GIFs have been synonymous with coverage of the 2016 presidential race. Whether it is Donald Trump making exasperated faces at his opponents or Hillary Clinton seemingly wiping dirt “off her shoulder,” these instantly shareable bite-sized moments have helped amplify and focus attention on the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates running.

SnapStream makes it simple for organizations to take a moment from television, create an animated GIF and post it to their social media accounts in just seconds. 

Live-tweeting of this election cycle has made it easier than ever to follow along with candidate events in near-real time. It also allows the organizations sharing the content to frame the conversation in the language of the social network on which it is being shared. 

Savvy media and political organizations have jumped on the GIF bandwagon and are sharing moments from the debates and other election events, creating incredibly engaging and viral content while informing their readers about the candidates and issues.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, an animated GIF could fill a volume!

Next up! Journalism Interactive at the University of Florida

February 06 2013 by Rachel Abbott

Journalism Interactive

Getting Interactive

Tomorrow SnapStream will be participating at Journalism Interactive 2013, a new conference focused on intertwining journalism education and digital media. Host of the second annual event, the University of Florida houses one of the top 10 journalism schools in the country.

Scholars, practitioners, teachers and students, from universities near and far, will congregate at Journalism Interactive to share their successful approaches for delivering journalism education in today's metamorphic media space.

 

Journalism Interactive

I graduated from UF's journalism school, so I'm filled with excitement about SnapStream's involvement with Journalism Interactive, which serves a tremendous purpose. It's admirable that this group of universities is taking an active role in seeking out new, influential technology and trends, and incorporating them into their curriculums.

Teaching Broadcast Journalism

Plain and simple, SnapStream provides universities with a new, digital platform for studying and teaching broadcast journalism:

  • With computer-based access to live and recorded television, professors can implement new teaching and research methods. Like at Emerson College, Graduate Journalism Professor Paul Niwa teaches students how to compare and contrast the coverage of a single news event across various outlets and networks.
  • By downloading transcripts and using the TV search feature, graduate students can count keywords and perform advanced content analysis.
  • Over time, universities will develop a searchable TV archive or library, which then becomes a valuable research tool and media resource.

Meet us in Gainesville

Are you going to be in Gainesville for Journalism Interactive? Let us know!

TV Search in Journalism at Emerson College (Webinar Jan. 26)

January 12 2011 by Rachel Abbott

Folks, a tremendous peer-to-peer learning opportunity is on the horizon. Joining us from Emerson College in the heart of Boston, Journalism Professor Paul Niwa hosts an exclusive webinar with SnapStream on Wednesday, January 26.

Professor Niwa, a longtime SnapStream user and pro, will share his best insights on the academic use of television search technology. Niwa teaches graduate-level journalism courses at Emerson, where he relies on SnapStream to find interesting TV content and create clips for lectures. Emerson students also have full lab access to SnapStream to conduct their own content analysis and broadcast research.

If you work in some capacity of higher education (or K-12), you're probably wondering:

• How does TV search work?
• Why is it especially useful for studying broadcast journalism?
• How did Emerson College analyze TV content in the past?
• What are the best practices and research methods?

You'll glean the answers to all of these curious questions. And you'll come to understand how core teaching styles have changed as a result of embracing digital recording and TV search appliances.

TV Search in Journalism at Emerson College

When: Wednesday, January 26
Time: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST
Register: Link to GoToMeeting

- About Paul Niwa -

Journalism Professor Paul NiwaPaul Niwa has a successful career as a TV producer on top of his nine years of teaching journalism at Emerson College. He launched two international television networks, six newscasts, and a streaming media newscast for NBC, CNBC, and StockHouse Media, Canada's largest internet company. He also helped NBC create "Early Today" and the award-winning "NBC Asia Evening News" in Hong Kong.

Talking with Paul Hitlin, Project for Excellence in Journalism

June 25 2010 by Rachel Abbott

Keeping our good word and following up from this previous post, we're giving you the replay of our J-School webinar featuring Content Supervisor Paul Hitlin at the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Paul Hitlin joined us on 5/26 before a virtual group of university educators, all eager to learn about fresh methods of conducting research, as well as sources for funneling data-rich content into their institutions of higher learning.

"We analyze primarily what topics are being covered. How much time is spent on the oil spill? How much is spent on Iraq, on healthcare?"

Catch a glimpse into PEJ below. The clip illustrates how they've incorporated SnapStream into their quantitative research process, which is quite systematic. Visit our YouTube channel to view the remaining chapters of the webinar, including further insight from Paul on how they used to do things pre-SnapStream.

Top 10 things you didn't know about PEJ:

10. Under the umbrella (not Rihanna's)
It's one of seven projects under the umbrella of the Pew Research Center

9. Defined by what they're NON
"NON partisan, NON ideological & NON political"

8. They're not a think tank, but
A "fact tank," navigating the information revolution

7. You'll never guess their claim to fame
The largest human coding news organization in the U. S. of A

6. Get this, they even have human bots
Well, kind of. 15 full-time coders that scour 52 media outlets daily

5. On a mission that's possible
To evaluate and study the performance of the press (via content analysis)

4. Historically speaking
It started 9 years ago in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

3. Serious news flash and power
News coding research began in mid-2006, with DVD burners and manpower

2. GRANTED for curricular support
Stony Brook University gave PEJ a grant to fund the SnapStream Server

1. Searching TV is a snap!
The team upgraded to SnapStream in January 2010

 

Customer spotlight: Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzes news with SnapStream

May 20 2010 by Rachel Abbott

Publishing widely regarded content analysis, the Project for Excellence in Journalism serves an important role: keeping the industry in check.

A non-profit, non-partisan organization under the umbrella of Pew's Research Center, PEJ is a vital resource for journalists and citizens dedicated to the study and reflection of the press.

With teams of analysts watching and dissecting broadcast news on a daily basis, the Project makes great use of the SnapStream Server to capture traditional television and stream recordings right from their desktops, all in the name of empirical research.

Speaking to the Project's Content Supervisor, Paul Hitlin, I gathered that this type of technology has made their workflow become much smoother; they were able to eliminate the hassle of burning DVDs and bringing them to their work stations, not to mention keeping them organized!

What they find useful about going digital: they can directly play back content and archive it. This makes it easy to handle simultaneous things--like side-by-side comparisons of news outlets and writing up research findings--all in one place, from the PC.

Register now

Webinar with Paul Hitlin Wednesday, May 26 3:30 p.m. EST / 12:30 p.m. PST

Paul Hitlin has graciously agreed to share his insights from the front lines, covering the bases of broadcast news analysis. On the horizon, he sees vast potential for the PEJ to expand the scope of quantitative trends they can isolate in the media from the source of TV search technology.

For professors and professionals in journalism and communications, there's so much you can learn from Paul and what PEJ is doing. I hope you'll join us next Wednesday, May 26 for a live webinar and interactive question and answer session.


 

How journalism schools and TV shows use SnapStream (by Columbia Journalism Review)

April 07 2010 by Rakesh

Alexandra Fenwick at the Columbia Journalism Review interviewed me on a recent trip to New York City. That interview resulted in this piece about SnapStream and how folks are using it in academia and in entertainment. Check it out!

University of Hawaii preserves island history with SnapStream

February 15 2010 by Joel

University of Hawaii Logo

The Sinclair Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa maintains the only extensive archive of television broadcasts about Hawaii in the state. The library, which for decades relied on videotapes and VCRs, recently switched to a SnapStream Server to ensure the integrity and longevity of its media collection.

The Challenge
In the past, student workers at the library selected broadcasts from published TV listings — and did the taping, quality, and pre-cataloging checks manually, which required hours of work and thousands of videotapes. “We can’t buy Super VHS tape quality anymore. The VCR is obsolete,” explains RuthMarie Quirk, manager of operations at Sinclair Library, who sought a digital solution.

The Solution

After two months of testing, the library in October 2009 deployed a 10-tuner SnapStream Server with 4 terabytes of storage as its exclusive TV-recording device. “SnapStream replaced the prior system completely,” Quirk says. “We save money on supplies [video tapes], and we can search for shows just by looking for the term ‘Hawaii.’ It saves hours of student work each week.”

“The entire process of setting up recordings and processing recorded shows is much easier and faster with SnapStream,” says Emily Albarillo, the digital media specialist.

“Having the shows in a digital format will make them easier to access in the future and also makes viewing much simpler. Storage also takes much less physical space compared to stacks of VHS tapes.”

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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