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Instagram & FB Live Case Studies

How do journalists or storytellers use Instagram and Facebook Live and how we can use these platforms for better, more engaging stories?

First, it would be beneficial to understand and recognize some key methods that journalists use Instagram:

1) aesthetics via photo galleries

2) multi-photo posts to give variety to a story

3) the 'story' feature to give a live engagement

4)distribute content

5) tease or build on other reporting

6) community engagement

7) sourcing

With the implementation of social media for journalists and storytelling, Instagram and other platforms allow magazines and news organizations to not only brand themselves but also deliver information to audiences across a variety of mediums. But there is so much more to Instagram than simply snapping a photo and posting a witty caption. Thinking as a photojournalist, the user must operate under reaching a particular brand as well as provide context beyond the scene that is shot. The caption also contributes a fair amount, especially since each piece of content should be able to stand on it's own. However, perhaps the hardest task with social media is the engagement element that media corporations and journalists are expected to consistently maintain with their audiences. Instagram's popularity is only increasing by the year regardless of the updates they make. For example in 2014, it was estimated that "with its community said to be sharing 55 million photos on average each day, Instagram has become a sought-after location for engagement by news outlets."

On the other hand, journalists are also attempting to incorporate the Facebook Live feature as today's 'breaking news updates'. The primary uses of Facebook Live can be seen in stories involving behind the scenes elements, Q&A sessions, product launches, oddly engaging features, augmenting traditional broadcasts, or being live at the scene. But the biggest difficulty with Facebook Live is that because it is done right in the moment, it is also seen in that very same instant. Therefore the hurdle journalists are trying to go over involves striking a balance between prepping ahead and being authentically in the moment. Similarly, interaction and engagement with audiences is skewed during the usage of Facebook Live because people are seeing the content the time the journalists are creating it, therefore there needs to be adequate conversations with those on Live and those watching it.

Finally, "our cultural milieu, including news and social media, is increasingly visually oriented". But an increase in audience attention with imagery can also result in lack of empathy, normalization of violence, questionable ethical practices, and so many other consequences. The cases outlined below are evaluated in comparison to each other as well as alone rather than comparison in their entirety. The categories outlined below are accounts with similar nature but obvious distinctions between the two.


Humans Of NewYork vs Subway Book Review

The prime utility these accounts have is combining aesthetics with featuring 'average' people an what they are doing/thinking. Humans of New York is a snapshot into these people's lives and what they're feeling or thinking in that moment. However, Subway Book Review is more analytical of a specific kind of thought people have (obviously revolving around books).


These radio stations transform their content into an online platform in an interesting way. While I love NPR, I was surprised at how much I did not like their Instagram account. All three of them use a visual video aspect to frequently, likely because they are used to have an audio element to their storytelling dynamic.

Washington Post vs New York Times

Finally, both The Washington Post and The New York Times demonstrate a developed and well attributed instagrams. Seeing as they are news organizations (especially print ones) I find it fascinating their approaches to social media content and reporting.



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