How newsrooms are using social media to engage with their audiences?

There is a shift in audience patterns, which shows mobile and tablet consumption has overtaken the desktop for the first time. Suchetana Bauri looks at how the news media is targeting  social media users.


Mobile and tablet consumption has overtaken desktop

Do you read your news on-the-go on your mobiles and tablets as you socialize with your buddies and coworkers on social network? You are not the only one. This is the new trend; there is a change in the audience patterns and it shows mobile and tablet consumption has overtaken desktop for the first time in new reading.

Instagram sees a sharing of 55 million photos on an average each day

Are you in the habit of sharing your fun moments – the parties, the vacations – through pictures or videos? You are one such of a million. Now, you can also catch-up with breaking news from the day through similar videos. The online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking platform Instagram, which shares 55 million photos on an average each day, is being pursued by BBC and the Guardian to use its video-sharing application/feature to engage their news readers.

BBC’s Instafax

Instagram is still a relatively new platform in a new space so BBC, the media giant is trying out new things around it. BBC launched Instafax, which has taken inspiration from bitesize news. Each Instafax is made up of video clips edited together with small text explainers.

Instagram provided for a powerful an engagement tool for journalists and newsrooms, so BBC launched Instafax making the most of the fact that it serves to encompass mobile, social and short-form video.

Tanya, a student of Annapurna International School of Film + Media and an user of Instagram, said that, “I feel this is one part of the reason why Instagram has had a phenomenal growth and is now one of the most used social media platforms, because it does combine all of these factors. What I enjoy about it the most is that it is mobile, it’s very visual, we can share stills and now even videos. Videos are becoming an ever more important part of the way people are sharing content, and of course the ability to be able to comment and engage or to like and share is all part of it as well.” So in keeping with this, it is definitely a smart way to consume information.

The Guardian: #GuardianCam

Just like the BBC, the other UK newspaper giant, The Guardian is all set to use Instagram as well. However, unlike BBC’s Instafax which focuses on news updates and headline round-ups, the Guardian is using Instagram through its #GuardianCam to offer added context and color; almost turning Instagram into another form of ‘reporter’s notebook’. #GuardianCam is a development of its earlier product, #TwiTrips. The previous hashtag engaged with readers by inviting them to ideate for Guardian journalists and photographers who were travelling within the US. All of the things they did during the road trips were Twitter-recommended, which meant basically everything the journalists and photographers did on the road trips was user-generated content (UGC). The outcome was an array of Instagram images, which drove the Guardian’s coverage of the trips with extra social media features.


Deliver a behind-the-scenes glimpse

So The Guardian started 2014 with a bang with regards to Instagram. . Hence, they put it directly into the hands of their journalists. And so the Instagram account under #GuardianCam was handed over to a Guardian newsroom in the UK, US or Australia, to deliver behind-the-scenes glimpses of specific assignments.

Katie Rogers, social news editor explained that “We have a schedule, it’s booked for the next couple of months, there are requests from around the globe to use it, and it’s really encouraging to know that this is something that people want to be involved with because they understand the importance of it.”

She highlighted use of the account by journalists covering the State of the Union Address by President Obama last month, as an example of a “really stand out moment”, offering a “great look into Washington culture”.


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