Blog 5: What is social media?

What is Facebook/Instagram Live and why is it important?

Both Facebook and Instagram have Live features. Many national news outlets, such as The New York Times, sometimes use this function for communicating with their audience in real-time.

Why is Live important?

If journalists want to get people engaged with more people, it is crucial for us to use this function.

At first, “the number of Lives increased substantially during the Covid-19 lockdown period,” Tshepo Tshabalala, a web editor, said in a statement. Therefore, if we livestream now, we may have more chances to be seen than before.

Also, because of the nature of Live function, journalists act as witnesses to events, and audiences will be collective witnesses when watching the real-time reporting, a journalist, Seth Lewis, said in a statement. Thus, audiences tend to believe the live video’s content so that your reporting will be more credible.

Tips for journalists

It is not easy for people to livestream. It is no different from broadcasting because journalists need to interview people or professionally introduce events when doing live reporting. Therefore, to make good use of the Live feature, we should learn from other experienced journalists.

NPR posted a training guide about how it used Facebook Live and here are some tips for making better Live videos:

  • Audio is essential: journalists still need to pay attention to audio and ensure good quality.
  • Avoid broadcast model: even though reporters need broadcast skills when livestreaming, they should avoid a talking-head, broadcast model.
  • Talk back to your audience: be sure to respond to your audiences’ comments to interact with them.
  • Tag your team: reporters should have cameramen when livestreaming because it is too difficult for them to hold the cameras when talking.
  • Check connections regularly: reporters should make sure that the broadcast does not cut off when reporting. So, they should decide in advance whether they use Wi-Fi or not.

And here are some previous live stories done by NPR. Feel free to contact me if you find any other good examples or tips.

Sources I use as reference:

  1. What Facebook Live means for journalism
  2. NPR’s Facebook Live Guide
  3. Maximise Instagram for Journalism

Published by larissagao

Senior student majoring in Convergence journalism-multimedia producing at University of Missouri-Columbia; Former General Assignment reporter at Columbia Missourian

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