NewsTrack 6: Brussels Attacks and CNN’s Snapchat Presence

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In the wake of the horrific terror attacks that occurred at Brussels’ main airport earlier this week, it is important for us as readers and concerned individuals to monitor the story as more details come to light. We, especially in the Boston area, know too well how jarring and demoralizing an attack like this can be. For me, since I have been following CNN for my NewsTrack site, I checked out their coverage of the bombings, which was unsurprisingly quite comprehensive and immediate.

CNN has released a number of articles regarding the incident, and has continued to update its readers regarding various new details, such as information about the attackers and other potential suspects. One way that CNN has chosen to engage with its readers and get the most up-to-date information out there is Twitter, but another more surprising means is Snapchat.

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CNN is one of a select few media outlets to use Snapchat’s Discover platform, which it updates daily with interactive content and videos. When you take a step back and realize that CNN has always been on the cutting edge of technology, this should come as no surprise. The company was the first television station to have around the clock coverage dedicated to the news, after all.

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CNN’s Snapchat has included live updates about the Bressels situation

Additionally, CNN has a number of articles on its site related to Snapchat and the way it has been used by the company to cover various events. It has been used a great deal in election coverage, getting exclusive interviews from candidates and supporters.

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I personally use Snapchat as more of a personal social media platform, choosing to get my news from actual papers, the internet, and often Twitter. That being said, I see the appeal of Snapchat as a potential news tool. Its ability to be instant and reach large audiences makes it an instant draw for companies like CNN looking to expand their multimedia coverage.

It remains to be seen whether Snapchat will continue to take off as a news tool, but CNN has certainly done a nice job in covering a very difficult situation in Brussels through the app. And as Andrew Morse, the GM of CNN Digital, said in an article regarding the Snapchat Discover feature, “We’re always seeking out new audiences and advertisers, and it’s more important than ever to tailor content to suit the platform. Snapchat is one of the most engaging platforms out there, and we’re excited to be able to program content specifically for that audience.” And programming content for specific audiences has never been a problem for CNN, so I do not foresee it being one in the near future.

Coming Soon to BU: American Idiot

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Director Sarah Gibson (COM ’18) looks on as her cast readies for a photoshoot.

For my most recent story, I covered the rehearsal process of BU On Broadway’s production of American Idiot. BU On Broadway is one of Boston University’s premier theater groups, which puts up three musicals per semester.

Whether you’re a first time actor, a huge theater fan, or simply love to sing and dance, there is something for everyone in BU On Broadway. If acting isn’t your thing, there are plenty of opportunities behind the scenes as well, with stage-managing and tech options.

This semester I have had the pleasure of acting in BU’s production of American Idiot, straight from Broadway. The smash-hit musical tells the story of three lifelong friends as they struggle with pursuing their dreams and leaving the safety of their suburban town. Complete with smash-hits from the Green Day album, rockin’ dance numbers, and an outrageously talented cast, American Idiot is sure to be a show that you do not want to miss.

Check out my preview video to see what the rehearsal process has been like and hear from the director, Sarah Gibson (COM ’18) herself.

Rock on.

NewsTrack 5: Spotlight

On the heels of its “upset” win for Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, there is a lot of buzz surrounding “Spotlight.”

The new film “Spotlight” shines a light on the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandal, and how, through the diligent work of some investigative journalists from the Boston Globe, this story was finally brought to light. This harrowing look into scandal in one of the world’s biggest institutions – the Church – leads some to beg the question, “why did it take so long for this story to come to light?”

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The portrayal of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team earned the film Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards

However, the more appropriate response would be that of praise for the Spotlight team at the Globe who a spent a solid 18 months digging through Church records and interviewing countless victims. And a more appropriate question would be, “what does this mean for the future of journalism?”

Many journalists have been wondering what the future holds for their profession as multimedia platforms are becoming more prevalent and readership to newspapers is declining. That being said, the film should generate some buzz because it was the first film about journalism to win Best Picture since “Gentlemen’s Agreement” in 1947 and the likely the most influential since “All the President’s Men” made waves in 1976.

My NewsTrack site, CNN, touched on these points in a number of articles both recapping the film’s big win and looking toward the future of journalism.

One article focused on the celebration that ensued from actors and journalists alike following the Oscars, and noted that while it remains to be seen whether the success of the film will translate to more college students studying journalism, there is certainly an increased excitement surrounding the field.

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Another took a very different, but also informative approach. CNN sat down with the six real-life reporters portrayed in the film and presented the interview in conversation fashion, making it easily accessible to any audience. Topics ranged from the premiere felt like to the impact of the film.

Though it’s hard to predict what come next for journalism, I truly believe that it is an exciting time to be entering the field. There are loads of new opportunities and jobs that didn’t even exist yet 10 years ago, and if “Spotlight” taught us anything, it’s that there is always a need for good storytelling, reporting, and the truth.