Washington Post’s Director of Video Shares Thoughts on Facebook Live Director of Video Micah Gelman offers great advice for storytellers looking to jump into this new platform

Facebook Live

Live video is quickly becoming of the most exciting new methods for brands, journalists and individuals to reach their audiences. Whether you’re using YouTube Live to cover a company-wide event or doing a quick Q&A with your most loyal followers on Periscope, live video gives you the opportunity to connect in a real way with your users. And with the wide range of options available on social sites like Facebook and Instagram, this storytelling format is only the beginning.

Micah Gelman is the Director of Video at the Washington Post, where he manages video business operation. We recently heard from Gelman on what he’s learned after a year of using Facebook Live, and got some great advice for storytellers looking to jump into this new platform.

Real News Does Real Well

Gelman is a journalist, through and through. And according to him, hard-hitting news does the best on Facebook Live. It’s immediate, so it lends itself to live events and on-the-ground coverage. “As fast as you can be with uploading a video, you can’t be as fast as live.” So maybe your next company event or business outing will be the perfect time to go live.

It’s Not A Television Broadcast

Going live on a social platform is very different from a traditional live TV programs. First of all, it can be more conversational and less scripted. Secondly, Gelman says, “Because social streams are not a one-way communication like TV is, we want the reader comments; we want the feedback and to be able to interact with our audiences.” Gelman referred to a time at the Washington Post when reporter Dana Milbank changed the direction of his entire story based on viewer questions alone. So don’t panic if you feel you won’t have anything to say. Let your stream be organic and fun.

Know your Audience

Gelman advises live streamers to be sure to focus on content your audience will be into. “Program to the people that come to you,” he says. When Al Franken went live with the Washington Post in March, it was because he had the ability to be unfiltered – and the audience loved it. But not only do guests enjoy that interaction, reporters can also get instant feedback to truly tell a story that serves them.

Tools you can use:

Gelman offered some great tools for storytellers who want to move beyond just a simple Smartphone when it comes to live streaming. Here are a few of his favorite tools:

  • LiveU – “for the ultimate 4k H.265 live video performance”
  • Dejero – “Simplifying the remote acquisition, cloud management, and multi-screen distribution of professional live video over IP”
  • TVU – offers live video support for major events
  • DJI Osmo – one of the best Smartphone stabilizers on the market today
  • Mevo – “THE live event camera”

What’s Next?

After a year of Facebook live, Gelman says the Washington Post’s efforts are going to be more focused and purposeful. He says soon they’ll jumping on more platforms like Apple TV and Roku and developing the expectation that when something important happens, their audiences are watching it live from the Washington Post on Facebook.

Jon Zmikly

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