How might the rapid uptake of live video streaming such as Facebook Live change journalism as we know it?

Journalism is a constantly evolving industry, always adjusting to new trends to make news the most accessible possible to readers and consumers. The latest revolution to change the way news is delivered is Facebook Live, a new feature on Facebook that allows anyone and everyone to broadcast live video to their friends and followers.

Already the feature has been used by news outlets to deliver news and analysis of events in the quickest time possible. The feature is also used to conduct Q&A sessions with expert journalists — a speedier and easier way of providing information viewers want than writing and editing an article — and simulcasting of television broadcasts, such as triple j’s Hack Live debate on ABC2 on Thursday September 22.

Australian radio station triple j used Facebook Live to simulcast their Hack Live broadcast on ABC2 on Aussie Patriots — Source: Facebook (triple j)

Because the feature can be used by all people, it has also increased the number of civilian journalists. Ordinary citizens can now broadcast live video of events in their area, providing news and information that only a local or someone on the scene could provide.

Facebook Live allows this information to be broadcast as soon as possible to the world and has increased the prominence of mobile journalism, by both citizen journalists and media companies, around the world, further empowering the journalistic Swiss army knife — the smartphone.

Social media news outlet AJ+ covers the recent Charlotte Protests via a mobile phone and Facebook Live — Source: Facebook (AJ+)

Live streaming can also bring extra attention to stories that may not have become stories without social media involvement. Being able to see what is trending and sharing videos can allow more people to see the video than is intended, and can generate more interest worldwide and shed light upon issues and events that may have otherwise gone relatively unnoticed such as the police killing of Philando Castile, a cafeteria worker in Minnesota shot by a police officer in his car.

Just as Twitter revolutionised newsgathering and reporting through speed and being concise, so too can Facebook Live and other live video streaming services such as Twitter’s Periscope. While there is still a place for thorough and detailed news and analysis, speed has become the most important part of news breaking and Facebook Live provides a widely accessible medium for instant video news.

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