Going “live” without the media’s help

Going “live” without the media’s help
April 1, 2015 Robert Dillon
Image of  Sens. John Thune, R-SD) and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., testing Periscope,

SENATORIAL SELFIES– Sens. John Thune, R-SD) and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., can’t resist testing Periscope, a new video streaming app stirring interest in and out of Washington, D.C.

The latest rage on Capitol Hill is Periscope, an app that allows users to live-stream video over Twitter. The Washington Post fretted that the app signals the end of the traditional press conference.

Twitter-backed Periscope video streaming app.

Twitter-backed Periscope video streaming app.



Yahoo Technology reporter Daniel Howley described Periscope thus:

Periscope, the app, is a new service from the people at Twitter that lets you watch and broadcast live video from around the world. – Yahoo Technology.

Periscope was launched Thursday and it’s already being put to use as for political purposes. It has been put to more mundane uses, as well.

The idea that it a single app or even social media in general could replace the gatekeeping role of traditional media is an overstatement.

Periscope is just one more way for elected officials to connect with their constituents. One major difference with owned media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, is that they only reach subscribers. They allow the user to preach to the converted, if you will, but rarely reach a broader audience. Except if a posting is covered by the press as a news event, of course.

American faith in media stands at an all-time low, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

Chart showing sinking credibility of media.

Trust in media hits all time low, finds recent Gallup Poll.

Yet, that same poll, suggests politicians continue to need the traditional press to reach a broader audience.  Media still enjoys a sizable lead over Congress when it comes to the measure of public trust – and that means politicians will continue to engage with reporters to get their message across.



As a former member of a once-exclusive club of photojournalists whose livelihood depended on capturing the official record of spot news events, the significance of Periscope, competitor Meerkat and similar streaming tools, may come through impacts on citizen journalism.

Perhaps more important, though, Periscope will allow people to stream major news stories as they happen in real time. As I was writing this article, a building caught fire in New York City’s East Village. Sure enough, many citizen reporters were using Periscope to stream the scene and provide live video to give context to written news reports. – Yahoo Technology.

PS: Yahoo Technology reporter Alyssa Bereznak compares Periscope and Meerkat so you don’t have to. Spoiler alert: Periscope is the clear winner.

Robert Dillon
Robert Dillon is former communications director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He’s worked as a photographer and reporter for newspapers, magazines, and radio in Alaska, Washington, D.C., Russia, China, and across Europe.


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