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Live Tutorial: Tips for Pitching & Streaming Live Video Journalism

Last Friday, Storyhunter CEO and founder, Jaron Gilinsky, took to Periscope to talk about livestreaming and best practices for pitching and…
Live Tutorial: Tips for Pitching & Streaming Live Video Journalism
Periscope Broadcast

Last Friday, Storyhunter CEO and founder, Jaron Gilinsky, took to Periscope to talk about livestreaming and best practices for pitching and creating live video journalism. Watch the full stream below:

Here’s a summary of what Jaron spoke about:

What makes live video so great is that it taps into a core part of ourselves that wants to know what’s going to happen next. When a video is live, there’s an infinite number of possibilities and it’s fascinating to watch these possibilities play out. Just like watching the elections or a sports game live, live video journalism inspires the same fascination in not knowing what will happen.

How to Pitch a Live Video Journalism Story

When you’re thinking about how to pitch a story for livestreaming, you should think of it as similar to any journalism pitch. You’ll need to consider the relevance of the story, how it will unfold, and whether you have good access. Here are the essential questions you should ask yourself before pitching:

  • Is the story surprising and relevant to humanity?
  • Does the story move and make noise? As with any video, a good story needs movement and audio.
  • Do you have a great character? The livestream is not about you as a journalist, but is about the story and the characters in it. However, you are the conduit to the story and should provide access and context.
  • Do you have access that few others do? Access is key for any great video journalism story or documentary.
  • Will the story lead to more surprises as it unfolds live? However, surprises shouldn’t mean that you are taking unnecessary risk — no story is worth your life.

Examples of Strong Pitches

  • You have access to the Kurdish Militia and will follow them as they move against ISIS.
  • You’ll stream protests in DC about climate change while speaking to a leading climate change activist.
  • You’ll bring us to demonstrations and protests on the streets of Caracas, Venezuela, such as Storyhunter journalist Carlos P. Beltran did for our first Periscope livestream.

Best Practices for Livestreaming Journalism

1. Be yourself: Be true to your personality and don’t try to conform to any particular style or mainstream perception of a journalist. Just be clear, concise, and accurate. Tell people honestly what you’re thinking/feeling at the time. Your audience wants to know who you are and why they should trust you. Telling them about yourself and how you’re feeling during the stream establishes trust.

2. Remember the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. During a livestream, these 5 W’s are even more important and should be repeated around every five to ten minutes to inform new viewers. Do this only when the action slows down. Say who you are and who your character is (name, age, and occupation), where you are (geographically and physically), when the event happened or whether it’s still happening, why you’re filming it, and what you are trying to achieve (in other words, your journalistic mission).Mobile Journalism Kit

3. Provide local context: You have the opportunity to show the world incredible news stories with a local context. If you’re a local reporter, give the story color by giving and getting the local perspective. Translate to English if people talk to you in local languages to broaden the audience. Any acronyms or reference to local organizations you should try to explain.

4. Verify — or qualify — the facts: When facts are coming at you in real time, you can’t always verify them. However, you can qualify them by repeating what your sources said and saying who those sources are. This way you can provide information without being inaccurate.

5. Keep it rolling: Whenever you’re in a situation that’s active or dynamic, don’t turn your camera off. Keep it rolling and maintain one fluid stream. If nothing is happening visually, you can end your broadcast, but as long as there’s still action, keep it rolling.

6. Narrate while filming: While something visual is happening, you can provide color and context from behind the camera. When things slow down, that’s a good time to go back in front of the camera and provide the 5 W’s.

From Periscope broadcast by Jaron Gilinsky, Storyhunter Co-Founder