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Traditional media turns to Instagram to report news

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Traditional media turns to Instagram to report news

Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines earlier this month, the BBC has been reporting tirelessly on the aftermath and has implemented an innovative way of promoting their long form video coverage – through short 15-second micro videos on Instagram.

Sarah Marshall in a recent article for points out that as social media grows as a traffic driver, traditional media must evolve to focus more on shareable content. Marshall notes that on average 25 percent of traffic to news sites is via mobile.

While traditional media outlets such as BBC use Instagram video to promote their longer news content, NowThis News a recent startup is using Instagram Video as its key medium to deliver breaking news.

As we reported earlier this year, NowThis News creates videos tailored for Instagram video. The New York-based startup has been experimenting with producing video news segments in the past year as short as six seconds that can be viewed and shared on the mobile applications Vine and Instagram.

NowThis News, which has nearly 60,000 followers on Instagram, targets the Millennial generation that has grown up using social networking and mobile technology. It now has around 15 to 20 millions views per month through its app – with even more traffic via Instagram and Vine. The company’s tagline is “the news in your pocket.”

Traditional media organisations have been hesitant to begin using Instagram Video among other social platforms and are potentially losing a large audience of young viewers.

NPR as well as the BBC has been slightly ahead of other traditional media outlets, both using Instagram Video to creatively communicate the news. Mashable reports that NPR's approach is possibly a bit more adapted to generate more engagement with audience. NPR has been using Instagram Video innovatively by creating mini-stories of lighter features that are likely to gain a lot of traffic and using hashtags as a way to promote audience interaction. NPR has more than 260,000 followers on Instagram

Using short 15-second micro videos to promote news is an interesting concept that can engage and attract new younger audiences who rely on mobile devices for news. Instagram is a relatively new platform that can be explored to help fill the growing deficit of young audiences but also, due to its strict time limit, can force media outlets to focus on the most efficient way to tell a story.

“It’s a journalistic challenge to think about complex stories and information in such a short amount of time,” NowThis News Editor-in-Chief Ed O'Keefe told Nieman Lab's Caroline O'Donovan, “It requires more ingenuity, more creativity, more innovation, to not just think about the length of the piece, but how can you tell a meaningful story in such a short amount of time."


Asta Thrastardottir


2013-11-22 12:25

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