"Periscope" Student Media App

Periscope --Brittani Tuttle

Periscope app allows Student Media to dive into breaking coverage

By Alex Pistole

The world of news gathering and reporting has always been directly tied to the newest innovations in technology. Today, if it isn’t mobile-friendly, immediate, and re-tweetable, it might as well need a postage stamp in the eyes of a millennial.

This is something senior Brittani Tuttle recognizes all too well. She has previous experience as a social media intern with the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival, so when she got an internship with Highlander Student Media as their social media director, one of her first priorities was to introduce the publications to students and viewers via the most cutting edge social technology. Aside from getting all of the branches of HSM on Twitter and Facebook, and managing their accounts, Tuttle has begun utilizing a new app to share behind-the-scenes footage and live streaming coverage.

“It’s a live broadcasting app,” says Tuttle, “where you can stream straight from your phone and it can be tweeted out.”

Periscope is an app developed for iOS and Android that allows users to shoot video which is automatically and simultaneously made available to other app users and Twitter followers. Other users will receive a notification whenever an account they follow is posting a video, and the stream can be saved for later viewing. Outside of Twitter, users of the app can interact with a world map on their device, showing live streams that are occurring all over the globe at any given time from any active user.

“A publication I keep up with in Orlando uses it,” she says, “(They) do supplementary material for their YouTube channel and their magazine. I thought that was really interesting.”

For student media, this is a revolutionary tool. It offers viewers the ability to watch things like the layout process of the Tartan, see ROC TV’s filming sessions from the other side of the camera, or watch their favorite Radio Free Radford DJs in the studio, all in real time. Currently Tuttle is the only member of HSM using the app, so it is limited to what she’s around to film, but she hopes to get all the organization leaders in on the revolution. There are other benefits as well, like being able to cover campus events immediately.

“I used it during layout just to see how many people I could get to watch,” Tuttle says of the first time she used the app during a Tartan meeting. “I just filmed myself doing layout for the Scene section, and we had like 17 or 18 viewers from just that.”

This offers an interesting crossover between traditional journalism and citizen journalism. Most who understand the changing news landscape will admit that something needs to fill the gap between slower moving, but more trustworthy broadcast news coverage and the avaverage citizen’s cell phone video posted to YouTube in seconds. With Periscope, a trained reporter now has the ability to cover an event with no more than a smart phone, conducting interviews, following the action, and fielding viewers’ comments all through the app.

“I would like to have all of the student media leaders have access to it, especially ROC TV,” Tuttle says, “and have them be able to use it, and have more people know what it is, because a lot of people don’t know what Periscope is yet.”

This is not the only software of its kind, but it is the newest. The app went live on March 26, 2015, and according to their website they already have 10 million registered users. Daily, close to 2 million people from all over the world log on to watch or post videos.

It remains to be seen whether Student Media will be able to utilize this new offering to the full extent of its possibilities, but Tuttle has high hopes that they will. She plans to have a replacement trained when her internship class ends this winter, keeping the improvements she has made alive.

Whether it’s a revolution in reporting, or just the next trend is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: innovation is the driving force of media and Radford students are doing their best to stay at the front of the pack. 

Oct 7, 2015
School of Communication