Snapchat is the instant messaging app that has taken the world by storm. From selfies and giving the world a view of events to showcasing your city, Snapchat has changed social media, for better and for worse.
But does Snapchat have a use in journalism?
You may have noticed the Discover option at the top of your screen. Then again, you may have been too busy scrolling through your recent updates to notice them.
Discover was introduced to Snapchat in January 2015.
Snapchat said that the Discover option was “a new way to explore stories from different editorial teams.”
They collaborated with leaders in the media industry to build a storytelling format that ultimately “puts the narrative first.”
Well-known journalism platforms have jumped onto the bandwagon including Buzzfeed, Sky News, MTV, Mashable, Sky Sports, National Geographic, The Mail Online and Cosmopolitan.
Some lesser known platforms have joined so you can discover them. People, Tastemade, Sweet, Fusion, B/R Sports, Vox, Food Network, Vice, IGN and Refinery 29 are the most recent ones.
Picture: Screenshot from Snapchat App.
The Discover option will continue to expand further due to its inherent success with young people.
So journalism platforms are using Snapchat to create interactive content and to share news and events.
Editors are able to put everything in order meaning that it’s like reading an interactive magazine.
Plus, every edition is refreshed after 24 hours. What’s news today is history tomorrow.
On the Snapchat blog, Snapchat said:
With technology and social media on journalism’s side, surely there’s nothing stopping the sector using the Snapchat platform to share news and events.
Journalists could use this platform to share events as they happen, but there’s one problem. Once you play a snap, you only have one replay option unless you have a Snapchat saving app such as SnapKeep.
A positive of Snapchat’s use in journalism is that you can take photos and videos for ten seconds. You can of course shorten this but having ten seconds to film a video or take a picture is better than Vine’s 6 second rule.
In my opinion, it would be good for local breaking news stories, for example a fire or other local events. It could have its use for sports journalists at matches too.
You could also get news to people faster. At the touch of a button, you could send a story to hundreds of users who follow your platform on Snapchat.
We want news faster than ever before. We can’t wait for news, we want it now. Snapchat aids the need for “fast news”. Rather than waiting for journalists to put a breaking story online, a journalist could film a quick report at the scene or from the newsroom.
You can put a news story together piece by piece, creating a story for people to view as the story unfolds.
You could start off with an image of the situation with a headline, then develop the story with videos and a short report including times etc.
Another use that Snapchat has in journalism is that you can get user-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC) is a large part of the journalism sphere. If we can’t get a reporter there, we can get someone who is there, someone who is down on the ground at the scene as it’s happening. It doesn’t have to be a report, but it can provide people with a first hand account and first hand footage.
It will support the rise of citizen journalism, which is essentially what we want these days it seems. (I’ll be doing a post on this soon!)
An example of this is when my sister used Snapchat to share a breaking news story with me. I got the story up with footage and pictures soon after.
Reporters could have people snap chatting them footage and pictures that could be used in new stories. These could be sent to the newsroom for people working online to get up straight away. It could also help with getting stories up on social media quickly too.
People could interact with journalism platforms quicker and closer than ever before.
We want to interact with brands a lot more than we have in the past. We want to be up close and personal. It could provide people with a behind the scenes – possibly a teaser of what’s coming up tonight on the news, tomorrow’s newspaper or the next edition of a magazine.
You can create Snapchat exclusive content too. We all love exclusives.
It could also mean that people could contribute to brands. People are consuming our brands and platforms so the journalism sector should be facilitating user-led content. It’ll encourage us to think about what our readers/viewers want to see and read, rather than what we think they want to consume.
If that wasn’t enough, Snapchat can have a use in journalism as it hones journalism skills. In journalism, what we write and film needs to be concise. There’s no room for waffling.
On Snapchat you only have a small section to write on, which will encourage journalists to think of the facts.
I personally think it will be helpful for first year student journalists, like me, who are just starting out with their news writing. Good idea, huh?
To answer the question, yes – Snapchat does have a use within journalism. It has multiple uses that news organisations should be utilising. News consumption is ever changing, so if we don’t do it now, then there’ll be a new way to consume and Snapchat will be history.
Do you think Snapchat has a use within journalism? Should we stick to traditional and other effective mediums?