SnapStream Blog

The State of Local News

January 11 2022 by Kevin Johnson

local-news

For over two centuries, the for-profit business model that sustained local journalism in the United States has been challenged by technological and economic forces. For years, local news outlets have struggled to survive because of advertising-based models, but the COVID-19 pandemic and recession have created an "extinction-level" threat. 

In thousands of communities, residents live in vast news deserts because one-fourth of the country's newspapers have disappeared. There is fear that the local news ecosystem in the country may collapse. Over 60 local newsrooms across the country had closed by February 2021, including large chains (CNHI) and many owned for generations.

In contrast, the San Francisco-based company Substack has made headlines by luring high-profile journalists away from established news outlets with a subscription system for digital newsletters. Some of its journalists bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars from subscriptions, including Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias, Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi, BuzzFeed senior technology reporter Alex Kantrowitz, and the New Republic climate reporter Emily Atkin.

How Can Other Local News Houses Leverage And Navigate The Changing Times?

For journalists, the Internet's growth as a means of disseminating news added more duties to their daily routines. However, it has profoundly impacted how news houses format broadcast news and consumers' expectations regarding access to information.

James P. Mahon, a reporter at WDEF News 12 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says traditional TV news will be gone in 15 years, but audiences will still crave authentic stories. "It will probably be a cross-platform service offering bite-sized stories in real-time with visuals. 

With today's instant news access, events reported at 2PM are already dated by the traditional audience view time of 6PM. People want their Twitter and Facebook feeds to be available. Millennials use their phones 24/7. Many buy Wi-Fi subscriptions instead of cable."

Retooling the Newsroom

In the same way that consumers have shifted the tools they use to get information, newsrooms have adopted alternate tools for presenting and gathering news. Both Facebook and Twitter have integrated deeply into news gathering and presentation.

Despite the importance of newscasts, Will Tran, a reporter at KRON 4 TV in San Francisco, says Twitter, Facebook, and our website are better ways to communicate information these days. Reporter Tran, who starts his day early at 2 a.m. and wraps up the news at 5 a.m., hosts a gregarious morning show. With added humor to his posts, he regularly posts to social media outlets.

Online Live Streaming

Broadcasters have embraced live-streaming apps to reach the youthful demographic that is attracted to these services. Media gathering has become easier with platforms which allow users worldwide to share live video. This is especially true for TV stations, which can use the feeds on-air.

Mahon says they use Periscope and Ustream every week. In the event of breaking news and extreme weather conditions, viewers will have direct access to emergency press conferences."

Stations realize no one will wait around for noon or 1 p.m. newscast to report a breaking story that happened at noon or 1 p.m., Tran adds. Everyone knows that no one watches the news anymore.

To be successful on social media, you must also be a heavy hitter. Social media is the vehicle running the news now. Local news stations need to hop on and ensure they bring their viewers along and make it snappy. The generation is full of skimmers.

News Tailored to Local News Viewers' Interests

Besides streaming services, consumers now expect a personalized experience when engaging with online content. According to Mahon, online streaming services, such as Roku, Hulu, and Netflix, have changed how we interact with audiences by providing them with niche customized programming when and how they want it.

Previously, journalists merely focused on delivering specialized news for a local audience. Creating a few newscasts each day for all viewers meant putting together a few shows each day. However, technology makes it possible for businesses to learn about visitors to their websites and deliver customized information. 

One-size-fits-all delivery of information has become more difficult because of this change. In the future, news outlets will find new ways to deliver content based on visitor interests as personalization becomes more prevalent.

Creating Business Connections

Consumers are now consuming more information. Businesses can learn from this. Companies need to ensure they reach consumers in the most effective way possible with the explosion of online marketing. The Internet has generated a broader audience for businesses of all kinds, just as it has benefited local news outlets.

News outlets and marketing specialists need to adapt their messaging formats as wearables make consumers even more mobile-focused. Consumers are becoming more demanding as they receive concise and personalized news. Marketers and journalists need to connect with consumers in this fierce competition for attention.

Will Local News Survive?

As local news reinvents itself to meet the challenges of the 21st century, new policies and regulations must acknowledge the interconnectedness of its journalistic mission with its business model and technological capabilities. Consolidation in the news and technology industries has resulted in a few corporate titans—with no clue of their decisions' impact on the communities they serve—making majority-owned news outlets and big-time technology companies the decision-makers. 

As polarized as our nation is, addressing these issues is fraught with controversy. Coordination of national, state, and local efforts is essential to success.

Small towns and big cities make up the United States. 

Whether in a high-rise apartment in Manhattan or on a farm near Manhattan, Kansas, the American system of governance relies on a reliable flow of information to its 330 million residents. According to Professor Victor Pickard's book Democracy Without Journalism, communities need local journalism to keep in touch with what is happening in their backyards - especially in their schools, their governments, and other critical institutions. 

On the local news, they learn about the quality of their environment - whether their air and water are safe - and who is vying for local office. Despite this, local news is rapidly disappearing. Society must support this sort of reporting if we wish to encourage it."

What Is News Avoidance and How Can You Avoid It?

December 09 2021 by Kevin Johnson

negative-news

The Reuters Institute has reported an upsurge in the number of people that actively avoid the news. News avoidance is a growing problem that threatens not just the media industry but democracy at large. While news avoidance still existed in earlier years, the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled this trend and worsened an already bad situation.

In early 2020 when news of the pandemic first hit, most of the world sought answers and information on the pandemic from news sources. Initially, there was an increase in news consumption, but this changed as the pandemic progressed. Some people, feeling stressed and helpless about the situation, began to avoid the news because of the anxiety it caused them. 

In this article, we will be discussing news avoidance, its effects, and how to get back the news avoidant consumers.

What Is News Avoidance And What Causes It?

News avoidance refers to intentionally resisting news. News avoidant people will either altogether avoid the news or drastically reduce the amount of information they consume. To understand news avoidance, we have to delve into its causes.

They include:

Information Overload

With social media and 24-hour news cycles, it has become effortless to access the news at any time and any place. While this has been good news to some people, others have felt overwhelmed by the constant barrage of news. Consequently, many people have chosen to avoid the news as a way of easing their information overload.

Distrust of the Media

Edelman's trust barometer found that 61% of Americans are skeptical about the objectivity of the media. The people questioned in the study believed that the media had a problem with remaining unbiased and non-partisan in their reporting. 

The mainstream media has also faced accusations of fuelling misinformation with the New York Congresswoman casting an accusatory finger at it for spreading the misinformation that contributed to the January 6 riots. As a result, this growing distrust in the media has triggered news avoidance in some people.

Negative News

From a pandemic to capital riots, the news headlines are often brimming with negative stories.  The grim news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on people's mental health. Consequently, some individuals opt to avoid the news to avoid the anxiety it gives them.

How Does News Avoidance Affect Media Organisations?

Media organizations are the biggest casualties of news avoidance, they have been impacted in the following ways:

Loss of consumers

The news industry's consumers consist of individuals who read, watch, or listen to the news. 

The media industry has been dealt a massive blow since 41% of Americans claim they sometimes avoid the news. A rise in news avoidance spells a decrease in the size of the news industry's market.

 A smaller market size means that fewer people will be buying news products such as newspapers and online subscriptions, which threatens the money-making power of media companies, thus threatening their existence and well-being.

Loss of advertising revenue

Media organizations also rely on advertisement for revenue, and the rise of news aversion has affected their ability to raise this revenue.

News aversion has caused a decline in the number of people consuming the news yet advertisers want to place their ads on platforms where they will receive the most attention. This has resulted in advertisers pulling out from traditional media, and instead opting to place their ads on other more popular platforms. 

This loss of revenue could mean layoffs for people working in the media, as organizations seek to cut expenses.

How Do We Solve News Avoidance?

Given the threat news avoidance poses to media organizations, there is a pressing need to find lasting solutions to the problem that address the causes of news avoidance. 

Constructive journalism

While the media can't solely focus on positive news, negative news can still be countered by practicing constructive journalism. Constructive journalism is a method of reporting that involves finding solutions and highlighting examples that have been proven work.

Constructive journalism addresses the problem of sensationalized news, and it eliminates a lot of the negativity in the news. As a result, adopting constructive journalism will help bring back avoidant news consumers that shun the news for its negative nature.

Increasing transparency

Now more than ever, there is a need to separate opinion from facts. More people have become distrustful of the objectivity of the news. Consequently,  journalists face the daunting task of preventing their personal views from seeping into their work. 

Moreover, journalists can earn the trust of the public by being transparent with the public.  One way of achieving transparency is educating the public on the fact-checking process followed by journalists. Doing this will reduce public skepticism on the integrity of the news reported and reduce news avoidance based on distrust of the media.

In-Depth journalism

While speed is often the goal for news publishers, information overload can be countered by bridging old-school long-form reporting with new-age social media articles. It involves publishing more in-depth stories in lieu of little-researched pieces. The British Tortoise Media is an example of a news provider that has successfully implemented this reporting style.

Media organizations can also solve information overload by publishing newsletters or producing podcasts that summarize the day's biggest stories. The New York Times has adopted this strategy on their platform – The Daily.

Conclusion

News avoidance is a rising trend that the COVID-19 has amplified. If left unaddressed, news avoidance poses a risk to the profitability and existence of the media industry. There is a need to address the causes of news avoidance. Journalists and the entire media at large have to be innovative in fighting the news avoidance menace.

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Getting in Deep: The Cost and Danger of Deepfakes in the Media and Beyond

November 18 2021 by Kevin Johnson

DeepFake

We live in a time when technology rules everything around us, and, for the most part, it has helped all of us live better lives. It has done everything from keeping us connected to making us healthier, but one of the most significant changes technology has brought is how we consume our news. Now, more than ever, people are getting their news from video sources, which is fantastic because it allows more information to be shared in condensed chunks.

For decades, video has been the gold standard of visual news because, unlike pictures, it couldn't be manipulated, but all good things must end. The foundation of deep fakes can be traced back to the 1990s, but they didn't get their name until 2017, three years after Ph.D. graduate student Ian Goodfellow created generative adversarial networks (GAN), a key component to today's deep fakes. These initially harmless fake videos have morphed into something far more nefarious in just a few short years, from people stealing celebrity faces to endorse their products to people trying to frame politicians.

The rise of the deep fake has hit the news industry the hardest as it makes it more challenging than ever to verify if a source is legitimate in an "if you're not first, you're last" industry. The news is a pillar in a democratic society, so it is not like they can throw in the towel and be defeated by 21st-century technology. Instead, agencies are learning new strategies to prevent, detect, and adapt to this new-age threat. 

What's the Big Deal?

Who cares if a few news agencies get egg on their face by sharing a fake video every once in a while, right? Wrong! The ramifications of these altered videos are dangerous and possibly even life-threatening, and we've already seen their effects. One of the most famous examples was the Tom Cruise deep fakes that took the world by storm and had people all over the internet convinced that Tom Cruise had been making his own music for his movies. Then there was a State Farm ad that claimed to show a video from the 90s that made shockingly accurate predictions about 2020; it turned out that the video was a deep fake as well. While these are innocuous examples, it is terrifying how many people believe them to be authentic. 

Deep fakes could cause unknown amounts of damage in the wrong hands, from ruining someone's life to starting a war. For example, imagine if hackers went on live television with a deep fake of the POTUS saying that we have already sent nukes towards China. The Chinese government isn't going to stop to authenticate a video if they think it is under the threat of imminent attack. That example may be a worst-case scenario, but more realistic scenarios aren't that much better in the long run. 

Perhaps, the biggest threat that deep fakes pose right now is the erosion of trust. Soon, people won't be able to tell if what they are watching is real or fake, which will lead to a blanket distrust of visual news media. While that idea sounds terrifying to ad revenue, it also paves the way for people to ignore when real news is happening around them. 

The Cost of Deep Fakes

There is no way to pinpoint how much deep fakes will end up costing businesses and the government, considering it's still a relatively new technology, but it is reported that deep fakes cost companies upwards of 250 million in 2020. One such example was in 2019 when the CEO of an English energy company took a phone call from who he thought was the CEO of the company's parent company asking for an emergency fund transfer to another company to the tune of $243,000. The problem was that it wasn't the CEO of the parent company; it was fraudsters using deep fake audio technology to mimic his voice. The money was then moved multiple times, and the culprits were never caught - another problem with the future of digital crimes that can be carried out anywhere in the world. 

How Do You Detect a Deep Fake?

The first and most important step to combating deep fakes is to detect when a video has been faked, which is easier said than done. However, the problem is at the heart of how deep fake technology functions - it is an AI learning platform that is meant to learn from and beat detection to create a more perfect image every time. According to the author of the book Deepfakes, Nina Schick:

"This is always going to be a game of cat and mouse, because just as soon as you build a detection model that can detect one kind of deepfake, there will be a generator that will be able to beat that detector." 

She likened the idea to antivirus software which needs to constantly be updated to detect the newest threats. Schick suggests that instead of telling if videos have been faked, the more straightforward answer is to validate that a video is real. This can be done with hardware that, in essence, leaves a digital watermark that indicates the location the video was shot and if it has been manipulated in any way.  Unfortunately, it seems as though deep fake technology is here to stay, and there will never be an easy solution. However, computer scientists are constantly working on new ways to make it easier for governments and news agencies to detect fakes efficiently. 

It's Not Going Away

The deep fake dilemma will likely only get worse. They pose a real threat to the news community and the community at large, and there will be many challenges in the future as these fakes become more sophisticated and cheaper to create. Companies will likely have to develop a multi-tiered defense against deep fake threats. One place to start is getting your media from trusted sources via SnapStream. A trusted video source will give you more confidence in your reporting and cut valuable time from your "information-to-on-air" chain. Until there is some way to stop them, the deep fakers will fake, and it is up to us to differentiate the fakes from the real thing. 

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Misinformation Madness: Can We Trust The News?

October 21 2021 by Kevin Johnson

factfake

Determining which news stories are misinformation versus which are fair and accurate is a challenging task. Fact checking -- which used to be the sole responsibility of news outlets, is beginning to fall on the shoulders of the audience.  In today’s flood of misinformation, ensuring the veracity of news content and sources is more critical than ever.

Unfortunately, misinformation in journalism is not a new concept. At times, some news outlets and personalities have taken information out of context or leaned on unreliable sources in an effort to break a story first or to cater to their base. 

Let’s take a look at news misinformation, how common it is, and how COVID-19 perpetuated misinformation in 2020 and 2021. 

What is Misinformation?

Misinformation can refer to a wide range of false information or information taken out of context. Sometimes it's the spread of untrue facts, and other times, it's propaganda geared to make society scared or distrusting. 

With the rise of social media, propaganda and conspiracy theories have seen a major uprising that has caused some to become skeptical and weary. 

Now that anybody with a social media account can share “news”, there is more misinformation than ever before. Journalism is no longer exclusively in the hands of ethical experts that are diligent in conducting fair and accurate research. People without journalistic credentials can easily spread information among the masses. 

This is a scary truth for those absorbing news and information. The responsibility has now fallen into the hands of the consumer to fact check information and resources before falling into the trap of believing the news they’ve been presented. 

Despite this, misinformation spreads far beyond propagandists and conspiracy theorists. In fact, reputable news sources can fall victim to spreading misinformation. As a journalist tackles a story, the context of every fact must be taken into consideration before sharing. Without fullying researching and understanding the story behind news, photos, or clips, the journalist is unable to accurately convey the true message. 

Frequency of Misinformation 

According to Letter.ly, in quarter 3 of 2020 alone, there were 1.8 billion reported fake news engagements on Facebook alone. This includes propaganda, conspiracy theories, or information taken out of context. 

Letter.ly suggests that 52% of Americans have reported encountering fake news. Yet it is difficult for consumers to determine between fake news and real news, especially if the fake news aligns with their beliefs and biases.

These statistics are both alarming and harrowing. As fake news spreads on social media, it can easily gain traction and go “viral” lending an unofficial credibility “by the numbers” in the court of social opinion.

Trust Among News Outlets 

As consumers are becoming more aware of fake news, trust among news outlets has taken a hit. This presents a problem for responsible and reputable news companies that have dedicated their livelihoods to providing accurate, reliable information to their viewers. 

According to Statista, trust in news outlets varies significantly depending on the country. The United States has one of the lowest trust ratings, at only 29% of people reporting that they trust the news media. 

Interestingly, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a rebound effect on consumers and their trust in news media. According to the 2021 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, trust in news media has improved by 6%. This is promising for media outlets but there is still a long way to go to fully capture the populations’ confidence. 

Journalist Responsibilities 

One of the best ways to avoid misinformation is to require journalists to take responsibility for their work. Maintaining strong journalism and news media ethics is necessary to continue to see a rise in media trust. 

Each newsroom should abide by  traditional editorial standards. This ensures that the journalists and news outlets carefully comb through their sources and information to ensure they are only reporting news that is completely true and factual. 

Can We Trust The News?

In short, the answer is yes. However, it's the consumer's responsibility to ensure that they follow reputable sources that take pride in the veracity of what they report. Though there is a lot of misinformation out there, there are plenty of reliable sources dedicated to providing accurate news to the masses. 

Misinformation is more common on social media apps, such as Facebook. However, it's important to note that social networking can remain a safe place to get accurate information if you're following news outlets that have secured a reputation for being reliable.

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How COVID-19 Impacted News Consumption

October 07 2021 by Kevin Johnson

shutterstock_1680776038 [Converted]

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

shutterstock_745095733 [Converted]

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.

Sign me up to try SnapStream

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).

 

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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