Live on TV and Facebook

Local news stations are tasked with finding innovative ways to use social media platforms as tools to connect with their audience.

  • What’s the best way to share the story?
  • Where is the audience?
  • What are they saying about this?

I’ve been introducing new ways for KSHB-TV to use social media. I work closely with TV producers to incorporate digital elements into the newscast.

Within the first month of my job, our station used Facebook Mentions’ live video as a way to provide weather coverage in a non-traditional way.

(Source: Facebook)
(Source: Facebook)

Here’s how it works:

Many television journalists and meteorologists have been popping up in our Facebook news feed using an app called Facebook Mentions. It allows the user to broadcast live video, very similar to Periscope and Meerkat.

When the app was released in 2014, it was only available to verified pages fan pages.

Facebook Mentions has many features. The most useful one for journalists, in my opinion, is live video.

The reporter grabs a cell phone, opens the app, adds a description then clicks “go live.” A notification is sent to followers of the Facebook page. When they open the notification, they will be able to view a live video. The reporter can then use this platform to share information about an upcoming investigation; hold a question and answer session with viewers about a trending topic; or show behind the scenes of a newscast.

(Click on the image to see the video.)
(Click on the image to see the video.)

We’re live in 3…2…1

In January, our viewing area was expected to see freezing drizzle and a couple inches of snow. This was not a big event, compared to some other cities.

I thought this was a good opportunity to experiment with Facebook Mentions’ live video feature.

I trained our digital and broadcast staff, provided a list of best practices and provided producers a wording on how to phrase the Facebook stream on air.

This was a team effort where the broadcast and digital realm where integrated.

Our Facebook video stream started at 4 p.m.

Our meteorologist, Jeff Penner, answered questions from our viewers about expected snow totals, road conditions and even tips on how to defrost your vehicle!
There were moments during the newscast when Jeff told our audience join the conversation on Facebook.

(Click here to see more on Youtube.)

Our first video was about 45 minutes long, received 140 likes, 25 shares, 336 comments and 7,200 views.

Overall, we got positive feedback and comments like: “I love the behind the scenes,” “very nice idea to have you live streaming” and “way better than any weather app.”

Screenshot of live video from our weather coverage.
Screenshot of live video from our weather coverage.

The last two videos featured two reporters. The second video was about 20 minutes long, with 42 likes, 2 shares and 108 comments and the final video was about 35 minutes long with 2,500 views, 18 likes and 72 shares.

 Reflections

Important news finds the consumer where they are. That means optimizing content for the social platforms they are using.

Social media allows the audience to see and hear what others are experiencing. Instant feedback is provided through “likes,” shares and comments.


Editor’s Note: Live video streaming is now avalible to “regular” use