A new wave of exploration and innovation is coming to journalism.
“There is more information, more readily available, more immediately, in more formats, on more devices and to many hundreds of millions more people than ever before,” notes the BBC in a nicely designed exploration of The Future of News. (Also find the BBC’s full report in PDF form here.) Another good read on the topic comes from The Verge, which delves into how ESPN is evolving to meet the expectations of sports fans, who now get their information in an almost infinite number of ways. Even the venerable New Yorker is experimenting with formats, launching a half-hour docu-series on Amazon Prime. A new wave of exploration and innovation is coming to journalism.
Snapchat’s Discover feature, launched this week, brings content from partners including ESPN, CNN, The Daily Mail, Vice and People to the app’s Gen Z users. It “feels like a significant moment both for mobile news and for efforts to reach younger readers,” writes Joshua Benton at NiemanLab. By integrating a mobile-native news format into the social platform, says Benton, Snapchat is offering something akin to the “laid-back, low-effort experience” of TV news for an audience that doesn’t watch newscasts. Channels are refreshed every 24 hours, with content “built from the ground up, exclusively for Snapchat,” says CNN, which is posting at least fives stories a day. (All initially sponsored by BMW North America.) Users see a 10-second video or teaser, swiping up to see more or left to move on.
On the other end of the spectrum from Snapchat’s stories, which cater to relatively distracted audiences, comes immersive reporting that harnesses virtual reality. An eight-minute VR film about the Millions March protest in New York last December, from Vice News and directors Chris Milk and Spike Jonze, shows the potential. Milk also created “Clouds Over Sidra,” a VR film shot for the UN that follows a girl in a Syrian refugee camp. “I think VR holds the potential to fundamentally change journalism,” says Milk, who will work with Vice on a series of VR reports.
The news is shape-shifting to fit today’s screens and technologies, and the very different expectations of young consumers.
Image Credit: Digital Brew