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Ten ways to use video for news on social media

Here are ten examples of ways news publishers are using video in social media.


1. BBC News: Instagram

The official BBC News Instagram profile has a range of video and still-picture content.

This post, from the 26th January 2017, is about Donald Trump saying “torture ‘absolutely works’ during his first one-on-one interview as president. The use of titles makes the story easy to follow, and means the viewer does not need to necessarily listen which is ideal for those commuting. As there is no voice-over on the video, instrumental background music plays throughout, but quietened for interviews or direct quotes from featured people. In this example, these are: Donald Trump himself, John McCain and Leon Panetta.


2. New York Times: Facebook

Despite being over 25 minutes in length, the New York Times used video, in its rawest form, to capture emotion. This video is a great example of when to use Facebook Live to capture that raw emotion, without edits or voice-overs.

What makes this specific video a success, is the journalists engagement with its audience. Quite often, video news is seen as a providing information. However in this case, allowing the audience to engage and direct the video creates not just a conversation, but also understanding. This video has taken its audience to a place they would otherwise be unable to go to, and to speak to people they would otherwise not have the opportunity to.


3. NASA: Instagram

As a series of photos and video content, NASA uses Instagram Stories to share a lot of their own news, but also as an educational tool.

In this example, their story is an explanation into the Space Launch System: ‘NASA’s new rocket that will take astronauts into deep space, including the journey to Mars’. It is made up of 11 pictures and videos, each adding further explanation into the mission. As do most of their stories, this uses captions to give detail, and some interviews with experts to add colour.

On a previous story, NASA used Instagram to show a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the preparation and journey to retrieve astronauts returning from the International Space Station. While NASA is not a news organisation like the BBC, their use of Instagram Stories is a great example for conveying a more complex story in a simple and easy to understand way.


4. Sky News: Twitter

Some remarks from Donald Trump after being elected into office sparked a global debate on the ways on the best ways to deal with so-called ‘fake news’. Amidst the debate, Sky News produced a short ‘explainer’ video for its social media platforms. On Twitter, this video has only background music and uses captions to tell its story.


5. Sky News: Instagram

Sky News used their Instagram account to promote a wider campaign that Sky ran, called Sky Ocean Rescue. As a native Instagram video, which loops, a single caption offers a small explanation into the story. The Sky News Instagram account also shared a longer and more detailed Story in order to give further explanation into the project. This was done in a similar style to NASA’s Instagram Stories, and with similar video styling to the native post, gave the whole experience a unique and consistent identity.


6. Buzzfeed News: Instagram

Video content on Buzzfeed News’ Instagram profile is often short, sharable clips of somebody saying something, and the only audio is that from the video. There are often no subtitles, or background music, in their videos. This particular style of content works well when further explanation isn’t required, or the story is already trending.

In the example below, Donald Trump features in an interview discussing torture tactics. The clip used here is a longer and uncut version of what BBC News used in the earlier example, however misses out the wider context they included through other interviews and subtitles.


7. Bloomberg: Twitter

In a more televised approach, Bloomberg shared a discussion between news anchors and a reporter on their Twitter page in a 4 minute long video, as they discussed Donald Trump’s immigration policy.

This type of video is able to look more thoroughly into the subject being discussed, as it originated on a different platform. It requires the viewer to listen intently to what’s being said, as there are no subtitles, which can be a deterrent for views on mobile. While this specific content may appeal more to desktop users, Bloomberg’s Instagram page is more reflective of mobile social media audiences.


8. AJ+: Facebook

AJ+ uses subtitles to tell its story of an underwater museum, using stock video and some still images in a more cinematic video. The text is bright and bold, and keeps with AJ+’s yellow and white branding. As there are no interviews in this video, and the subject of the video isn’t serious, light-hearted music runs in the background.

The video ends on a call-to-action, inviting viewers to ‘share this video’, resulting in nearly 600 shares.


9. VICE: Facebook

This particular example is an advert for a feature documentary on their television channel, VICELAND. Unlike any of the other examples listed above, it features both a voice-over and subtitles. The end of the video is a call-to-action, much like that from AJ+, this time encouraging its viewer to tune into the documentary by giving the date and time.

The clips featured were taken from the documentary itself, making it a trailer/advert as opposed to a stand-alone piece of content.


10. Press Association: Twitter

Press Association shared this video as a stand-alone piece of content on Twitter as part of a wider discussion about America’s immigration policy changes. The video is of Ed Miliband speaking in the House of Commons, and subtitles what he says. It can be viewed within the Twitter timeline, with or without sound, making it very easily accessible.

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