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!

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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?

 

 

Neutralizing Media Bias: How The Media Research Center Uses SnapStream

September 02 2021 by Sarah Eck
MRC logo

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 Challenges

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 Solution

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. 

 

The Result

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?

 

 

A New Era of Storytelling with John Battelle

August 18 2021 by Celina Dawdy

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. 

Generational Changes

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. 

Social Media 

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. 

Handheld Devices  

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. 

Hip-Hop News

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 we move into streaming…[there's] a big opportunity to rethink the technical layer between production and publishing. It's super exciting. I think it's just as exciting as HTML in the late 90s. Before the emergence of Javascript and the other tools that led to the explosion on the web, everyone called Web Two. We're very close to television. I would say that in five years from now, it'll be a completely different looking field."

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. 

Conclusion 

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. 

Want to try the original news media video workspace for yourself? Try us free for 7 days to search and clip the biggest news moments as they happen.

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SnapStream Search Spotlight - July 2021

August 06 2021 by Sarah Eck

July Search Terms ColorEach 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.

How MailOnline Maximizes Speed & Access for its Video & Picture Desks

July 27 2021 by Sarah Eck

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.

 

DailyMail

 

The Challenges

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.

 

The Solution

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
MailOnline


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.

 

The Result

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
MailOnline



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.

 

 

ABOUT MAILONLINE

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).

 

SnapStream Search Spotlight - June 2021

June 28 2021 by Kevin Johnson

Word Art

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. As usual, June 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.

From June 1 through June 27, SnapStream users ran 33,317 search queries. 

Below are some of the major search topics of the month.

 

George Floyd - For his role in the murder of George Floyd, former police officer, Derek Chauvin, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the powerful and tragic video was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for "for courageously recording... a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice."

 

Juneteenth - After passing through both the Senate and the House, President Biden signed a law making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The law enshrines June 19 as a day for the nation to commemorate the belated end of slavery in the United States.

 

 

Georgia - Attorney General Garland announced the Justice Department is suing Georgia for introducing new voting restrictions. Garland says the laws “were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote.”

 

 

And That’s Not All

Other big searches this month included:

  • John Bolton - The Justice Department dropped its civil lawsuit over former national security adviser John bolton’s memoir
  • William Barr - Details have emerged that former Attorney General William Barr had a profanity-laden split with Trump over election lies. Barr said Trump’s election lies were “all Bulls--t.”
  • Tulsa - An emotional President Biden remembered June 1 as the 100 year anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.

June proved, once again, just how powerful video moments can be. So, keep searching, keep snapping, and we look forward to seeing what captures everyone's attention next month.

Skewed News: How Source Bias Affects Online News Engagement

June 17 2021 by Kevin Johnson
Blue background with illustrated people around large smartphone with a header that says NEWS

“Spiderman’s the best!” 

“Nope. Batman is.”

“D.C. Comics are lame. I’m Team Marvel all day!” 

People love their opinions and often make their consumption choices in direct correlation. Superhero arguments aside, the reality is sources play a huge role in the acceptance of their content. Whether it’s The New York Times versus The Wall Street Journal, CNN versus Fox News, or Marvel versus D.C., Americans are highly-opinionated, picky, and skeptical about the information they ingest, especially depending on where they get it. Good luck convincing Uncle Earl at the barbecue that your favorite news blog is better than his trusty channel-of-choice.

During a tumultuous and politically-polarized 2020 election season, Gallup and the Knight Foundation released a study, NewsLens 2020: How Americans Process the News, that measured US attitudes toward different online news sources. The purpose was to examine the extent partisanship played in how people engaged with online news content and to deduce whether solid journalism could cross the political divide.

To measure engagement, Gallup and Knight used an experimental news platform and aggregator originally developed in 2017. The experiment conditions were simple: randomly feed more than 1,500 partisan readers articles in both natural and blinded conditions (labeled or unlabeled with source cues). Content was supplied from Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and no-lean sources. More than 44,000 article clicks and 27,000 ratings were registered. The results were published with the hope of providing useful insights to journalists, policymakers and academia.

Let’s dig in and snack on a few of the findings, shall we?

Despite Partisanship, Readers Source Choices Varied

Surprisingly, despite their political leanings, readers chose content from both sympathetic and adversarial sources, even when source cues were visible.


 

In the natural condition, out of every 20 articles served, the click rate of users with partisan commitments registered:

  • 4.6% Sympathetic outlet
  • 4.1% No-lean outlet
  • 3.8% Adversarial outlet

In the blinded condition, the click rate demonstrated a marginal difference:

  • 4.7% Sympathetic outlet
  • 4.0% No-lean outlet
  • 4.4% Adversarial outlet

 


Defying the theory of cognitive dissonance, the study found that while partisan selective engagement was present, the margin of selective exposure was modest. With the source visible, out of an average 100 articles, a hypothetical partisan user chose 36 from sympathetic outlets, 33 from no-lean channels, and 31 from politically adversarial sources. Gallup and Knight concluded that regardless of political affiliations, readers were not inclined to remain within their own echo chambers.

The Messenger Carries More Weight than the Message

With the overwhelming volume of news available today, a news source and its agreeableness to the user often dictates the perceived level of credibility more than the content itself. Think about your own political stance and how just the mention of CNN, MSNBC, Newsmax or Fox News might immediately frame how you would judge their content.

NewsLens examined reader ratings of news stories and discovered that when source labels were hidden, users gave articles from politically sympathetic news sources a higher rating versus adversarial outlets. However, readers gave even higher ratings when source cues were visible. Displaying the news outlet contributed to more than half of the variance in user ratings between “friendly” and “hostile” news sources. The takeaway: for readers with a defined political stance - the specific news outlets shaped their impression of the material more than the actual content itself.

Perceived Relevance Bolsters Impression of Journalistic Quality

As readers, we often subconsciously judge news stories across a range of benchmarks:

  • Overall quality
  • Perceived Fairness
  • Personal Relevance
  • Completeness
  • Accuracy

NewsLens examined whether readers distinguished between these various components using a five-star rating system. Readers rated articles similarly across all five criteria, with half of the content receiving the same rating across all categories. However, using a control variable in the model that factored in the relationship between journalistic quality and the residuals of each criteria allowed NewsLens to discover a statistically significant and positive association between personal relevance and perceived journalistic quality. 

With all factors considered, readers responded more favorably to material that was “covered in a way that mattered to them,” thus boosting perceived journalistic quality of the material.

Wrap-Up

The NewsLens report makes it crystal clear: partisanship strongly informed how open and receptive readers were to news stories based on the outlets they come from. However, some common ground remains — especially for what readers judge as good journalism. The NewsLens findings are insightful and we invite you to check out the actual report to dig further into the findings and better understand how end users engage with online news.  

Now, only one question remains…

Are you Team Marvel or D.C.?

 

Want to try the original news media video workspace for yourself? Try us free for 7 days to search and clip the biggest news moments as they happen.

Sign me up to try SnapStream

 

SnapStream Search Stats - May 2021

May 26 2021 by Sarah Eck

Word Art (2)

Each customer uses our news media video workspace in their own way, but it's always easy to see when major moments get everyone's attention. And May 2021 was chock full of big news stories -- you know, just like every other month before it in recent memory.

We're back at it this month looking at the top search topics in May. From May 1 through May 27, SnapStream users ran 32,240 search queries. Below are some of the hottest search topics of the month.

Restaurants and minimum wage - several restaurants complained of worker shortages as COVID restrictions lifted. For many chains, this brought to a head a years-long battle over wages in the restaurant industry, with some - including Chipotle and McDonald's - ultimately announcing wage increases that are likely to force others in the space to follow suit.

 

Asian Americans - in addition to May being Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month,  signed the bipartisan-supported COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. The legislation comes in the wake of increased violence toward Asian Americans throughout the pandemic.  

 

 

 

January 6 - Guys - did something happen on January 6 this year? Guess we'll find out, maybe. The date of the insurrection was back on everyone's radars as the House passed a bill to investigate the attack on the Capitol. 

 

 

 

Cheney and Marjorie - raise your hand if you'd thought much about Liz Cheney or Marjorie Taylor Greene prior to 2021. Yeah...us either.

Both made headlines in May, with Rep. Cheney in the spotlight for being ousted from her House leadership post by fellow GOP members. Her transgression? Refusing to perpetuate the false idea that the presidential election was rigged.

At the other end of the GOP spectrum was Rep. Greene, who continues to snag the spotlight with her fringe viewpoints. Just when we thought her statement about Jewish space lasers was peak MTG, she one-upped herself this month, making waves by comparing House floor mask mandates to the Holocaust.

 

The news is WILD, y'all.

Other big searches this month included:

  • Critical race theory - several states have recently introduced bills that would prohibit critical race theory from being taught in public schools. And House Republicans introduced a bill that would ban diversity training for federal employees and the military. 

  • Gaza and Israel - a ceasefire came after 11 days of fighting and more than 240 casualties. This decades-old conflict is far from over and has precipitated demonstrations and protests around the globe.

  • Cyber ninjas - the folks leading the charge auditing the November 2020 election results in Arizona. 

  • NFL Draft - Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is headed to Jacksonville in hopes of helping the Jaguars do better than 1-15 this season.

  • Bill Gates - Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage. Think we will see either of them on Tinder at some point?

  • Zoom dysmorphia - apparently seeing yourself in the corner of video calls all day can create a skewed self-image. Lucky for us, we were already pretty skewed to begin with.

Can't wait to see what captures everyone's attention next month!

 

How a News Media Video Workspace Can Unite Remote-First Teams

May 26 2021 by Sarah Eck

shutterstock_1563971233Remember when we all thought we would work from home for no more than two or three weeks? Ah, memories of a simpler time.

Now that two weeks has turned into more than 60 for many of us, organizations of all kinds are making the switch to hybrid or fully remote work arrangements. For those of us in news and media, we need a lot more than Zoom to work efficiently and effectively in this new world. 

One of the largest challenges news, production, and public affairs teams have faced is being able to create, edit, and publish video content remotely. Issues with bandwidth, storage, reliability, and access add unnecessary speed bumps into processes where time is of the essence.

This is where a video workspace can be a game changer for unifying news-making and news-using teams.  These platforms enable teams to bring together several video content sources to make them easier to capture, manage, search, edit, & publish. And they can be used by a variety of departments, from production and news to creative services, ad sales, and PR/public affairs.

Considering a video workflow platform for your news organization? Be sure to look for these three things:


Cloud-Based Video News Access & Distribution

It's likely your organization gets news video content from a variety of sources - broadcast, OTT, streams - in addition to what you create in house. Historically, capturing all these different sources might have required different pieces of hardware, and monitoring them all simultaneously would have been cumbersome, if not impossible.

The first thing your news organization should look for in a video workspace is whether there is an appliance-free option. This can take many forms, from managed TV and hosting to content licensing. Regardless of how it works, the goal for your team should be a cloud-based user experience with no hardware for your team to manage and equal access to content across your organization.

 


 

What is Managed TV?
In most cases, accessing broadcast content still requires a cable or satellite subscription. Which means you'd need a cable box in your office. Platforms - like SnapStream - that include managed TV alleviate this burden by hosting the cable box for you, managing the service install and configuration, and handling troubleshooting and support. This means less IT and engineering support is required from your organization, you get better system reliability, and your focus can stay on creating content.

 


 

Easy-to-Use Video Editing Interface

We are all content creators now. Staying current and relevant in social media channels requires a tremendous amount of timely content. And we all know the social media platform algorithms are currently tuned to favor video-based content. The only way to keep up with the  content velocity required to grow followers and engagement  is to enable more people in your organization to create and publish quality content, wherever they are

In evaluating a news media video workspace, look at how intuitive the controls are and how easy it is to teach your team to use them. The idea is to give video editor-style capabilities to folks without them needing to be video editors. Make sure frame-specific editing is a breeze, transcripts are easy to reference to find specific moments, and there are a variety of branded  formats that can be output specifically for social media. 

 

Alert Everyone to Major Moments

What's important on any given day can vary from team to team. But when big events happen, your brand is mentioned, or your candidate makes a statement, your entire organization needs to take notice. Major moments hit everyone from the newsroom and production to creative services, public affairs, and advertising. And when the news moves fast, it can be a challenge to get the right content to everyone simultaneously. 

As you look at news media video workspaces, ensure the platform does 24/7 monitoring and allows you and your team to set up alerts for the topics that matter to you most. This capability ensures your organization can seamlessly stay aligned on everything from the progression of major news stories and statements and commentary about your candidate or brand to confirming advertising adjacencies and placement. 


Organizations of all sizes will continue looking for better ways to enable teams in a way that maximizes connection and collaboration in our remote and hybrid work world. The right video workspace can alleviate many of the common challenges news, media, and public affairs teams like yours grapple with as you work to get your arms around the news cycle and create compelling video content.



Want to try the original news media video workspace for yourself? Try us free for 7 days to search and clip the biggest news moments as they happen.

Sign me up to try SnapStream

 

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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