Periscope is a live, unfiltered video streaming application that allows users to discover the world through someone else’s eyes. In March, Twitter acquired Periscope.
On its first day on the job, Periscope showed us footage of a dreadful explosion that took place in New York City. The scenes we viewed were not what one would see on a regular news station. We saw what was happening even before the first responders arrived on scene, and we viewed footage that would ordinarily be cut from regular television.
It’s safe to say that the live streaming phenomenon was formally introduced to the journalism world through the Baltimore riots, which offered viewers across the globe an unbiased and authentic glimpse, in real-time, of what was happening.
But is it yet another over-hyped technology?
When tech-savvy journalism students were asked about innovation, this comment by Fernando Hurtado, 20, stood out: “With interest waning in long, formal newscasts, […] the next frontier is mini-broadcasts that simulate the live coverage experience. […]Taking the editing and producing outside the newsroom makes stories that are much more powerful. While they may be a little rougher around the edges, these stories are often more active and visual.”
Although it will never replace regular news broadcasts, live streaming applications such as Periscope (Meerkat is also an extremely popular live streaming app) are changing the way our world creates and views news. With its smartphone capability, Periscope is convenient and — maybe obviously, considering they own the app — integrates seamlessly with Twitter, giving it vast exposure to the platform’s 300 million active monthly users.
Like anything else, though, it has its limits and can sometimes place journalists in a gray zone both on what is an acceptable and professional use of the technology.
In May this year, during a Pro-Am Golf Tournament, use of the app landed a member of the media in trouble: Stephanie Wei used Periscope whilst following golfers around during a practice round of golf without realizing that this would result in her press credentials being revoked for the remainder of the season. She mistakenly believed she was “spreading fanfare for the tour”.