WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Newscasts Revealing a Little Too Much

Oct 4, 2016

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the use of Facebook Live to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in a newsroom and/or during a live newscast.

Panelist Will Buss said technology keeps changing so the rules are being written as we go along. He believes a line needs to be drawn to prevent journalism from becoming entertainment.  He doesn’t have a problem with – for example – doing a one-time video open house via Facebook Live, but added newsrooms shouldn’t be turned into reality TV.

Buss also said the 24/7 news cycle sometimes leads to speculation replacing journalism and he’s concerned that constant live streaming from newsrooms will lead to more of that.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton thinks Facebook Live is good for getting out information quickly. And she said it’s a good way to interact with the audience.

But Crighton worries problems could crop up during breaking news.   She said newsrooms sometimes come up with sensitive news that cannot be immediately conveyed to the audience, and it could be difficult for those in a newsroom or on a television set to communicate if a Facebook Live stream is taking place.

Panelist Rich Egger said TSPR recently experimented with Facebook Live during Afternoon Edition. He had mixed feelings about it.  There were problems with the station’s computer system at the beginning of that program, though none of the problems were apparent on the radio.  He liked that Facebook Live viewers got a behind-the-scenes look at how station staff resolved the problems without hurting the broadcast.

But he also said the episode might give viewers the wrong impression because that was not a typical program – Afternoon Edition is usually not so chaotic.