Short news clips suit our distracted culture

Short news clips suit our distracted culture
February 27, 2017 Katie Stark

I partake in the consumption of many kinds of videos, whether they are on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Often, Snapchat and Instagram videos I find to be most preferable for several reasons. First because of how short the videos are. I like that I do not have to commit to anything, but can still grasp the information I am watching. Second, Snapchat designs videos that can be skipped through with just a finger tap. It allows you to sift through the parts you find to be boring, and to the parts that catch your eye. Instagram is similar, but instead of short “stories” that can be tapped through, you have to at least commit to watching a 60-second long clip, which is still short enough to grab your attention.

Facebook and YouTube allow for longer videos. These are often better, because it gives a higher sense of quality (aka real news), but the video still has to be really interesting for the consumer to want to watch all of it. Most people I know, myself included, generally just skip through a longer video to get an idea of what it is about rather than watch the whole thing. This can be fine as long as your internet is good.

These media outlets have great potential to be a source of news. In fact, most adolescents get the majority of their news from social media. However, I rarely see real quality news on these sites. Most of the content is more for entertainment value than informative. The latest celebrity scandals, for example, or a few minute-long clips from late night talk shows. Actual stories, made by real journalists are not out in the open like the rest of this content, they seem to be hiding behind a wall of traditional media expectations, and much too hard to find for most people to bother looking for them.

An effective mobile news video, should get to the point in the first few seconds, explaining the headline or image that caused the viewer to click on it, thus eliminating the need to watch the whole video to get the news.

BBC News, which has started using vertical video in their mobile app is a good example of this. Their news videos are no more than 90 seconds, which is good for those of us who have little time, or short attention spans. The video should also eliminate the need turn the sound on if the viewer doesn’t want to. Often, people are watching their news in public, and without headphones or earbuds. Captions along the bottom of the video are useful in these situations.  Snapchat does this really well, most of their videos are 1 to 2 minutes long, with captions. As I mentioned earlier, the Snapchat’s format let’s viewers easily skip through videos, an attractive feature.

Katie Stark
Katie Stark from Palmer, Alaska, is a junior studying journalism at University of Alaska Fairbanks. She's published photos and news stories in the The Sun Star, the university student-run newspaper. She is also part of the Nanook Women’s Swim Team. In her free time, Katie likes to be outside, read dystopian, utopian, and adventure novels, spend time with friends and family, and travel to anywhere as long as it is somewhere she hasn't been before.

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