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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Twitter's new video app Vine: The next big thing in social media newsgathering?



Vine, a new app from Twitter, could be the next big thing in social media newsgathering, according to some media watchers. Released on Jan. 24, the so-called “Instagram for video,” allows users to capture six-second looping videos and share them on Twitter

The low-resolution videos are described as something closer to animated GIF files, looping back with ambient noise captured in the background. Users simply open the app, record and post what they captured, without the option of filters, editing or adding sounds. Wired described the no-frills design as “touch to shoot; scroll to play.” 

PandoDaily celebrated Vine’s potential as a tool for the practice and consumption of journalism, arguing that it arms “journalists with greater storytelling firepower in the digital form.” Hamish McKenzie wrote that the app’s ease of use, ability to capture audio, and backing from Twitter lay a strong foundation for the video sharing platform’s news potential. In an era when reporters are asked to flush themselves out into individual media brands, McKenzie argues that Vine could help online and print journalists build their personas.  

Highlighting an example of Vine capturing a fire breaking out in a San Francisco neighborhood, CNET’s Daniel Terdiman reflected on the app’s newsgathering potential on Tuesday, Feb. 5, imaging that “millions of people” could pull out their smart phone, record and share breaking news

“What if the Arab Spring, or Hurricane Sandy had been Vined?” Terdiman asked.

Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman questioned whether the unedited, more realistic nature of video would present ethical dilemmas for reporters as to when Vine clips would be appropriate, especially when covering violent events. 

Vine is not the first time short-burst video has been used by news organizations. During the 2012 election season, The Wall Street Journal announced the launch of the WSJ WorldStream, a micro-blogging platform powered by Tout featuring short videos up to 45 seconds long shot by Dow Jones reporters. Unlike Vine's The Journal said at the time, however, it would not break news with the video platform. 



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