Tag Archives: SnapChat

How to embed a vertical video from YouTube or Vimeo

In my series of posts on Snapchat for journalists I mentioned that you can embed vertical video so that it doesn’t have those annoying black bars either side. Here’s how.

OK, so YouTube may not support vertical video as a format on desktop (it does on the mobile app) but you can embed a vertical video hosted on YouTube so that it is presented as a vertical format on your own webpage.

This is particularly useful if you’ve created a video using the Snapchat app, or merely filmed on your phone without remembering to rotate it, and want to use it on a normal site. Continue reading

How the Old Trafford bomb scare was reported on Snapchat: live stories vs Dream Team

On Sunday the 75,000-capacity Old Trafford stadium was evacuated 20 minutes before the last game of the season kicked off. I found out on Snapchat: it was, if you like, my ‘Hudson River moment‘.

But what was striking was just how little space Snapchat itself devoted to the event. So I took screenshots of the ‘snaps’ and am publishing them below for the record. Continue reading

Snapchat for journalists (part 4): sharing and measuring your story

In the previous parts of this series I covered different types of stories, tools, and thinking about narrative. In this extract from the ebook Snapchat for Journalists I cover the practicalities of storing, sharing and measuring your Snapchat stories.

Snapchat book cover

You can read more in the ebook (also available in the Kindle Store)

Sharing your Snapchat Story

Each snap in a story only lasts for 24 hours, so it’s worth making sure you share them as early as possible, and regularly before they have finished.

You cannot share a link to your Snapchat story: people need to be following you on Snapchat and checking it for notifications. Whenever you add a new snap to your story, they will receive a subtle notification within Snapchat.

To share it you have a number of options: Continue reading

Snapchat for journalists (part 3): narrative

In the first and second parts in this series I covered different types of stories and the different tools in Snapchat. In this extract from the ebook Snapchat for Journalists I cover narrative techniques in Snapchat, including the importance of variety and thinking about beginnings, middles and endings.

Snapchat book cover

You can find more tips and examples in this ebook (also available in the Kindle Store)

Snapchat Stories: variety is key

The best stories tend to mix both images and video, have more than one person, and employ a range of different techniques.

Just as you wouldn’t write a news story which employed a quote-quote-quote structure (you might instead choose fact-quote-background), stories are more engaging when you switch from one type of content to another.

One technique, for example, is to use a still image with a caption to introduce a speaker, before moving on to a video clip of that speaker. Continue reading

Snapchat for journalists (part 2): the tools explained

In a previous post I covered the different types of stories that work well for news organisations on Snapchat. In this second extract from the ebook Snapchat for Journalists I go into more detail on how to use particular tools: the pencil, stickers, and filters

Snapchat book cover

You can read a lot more about Snapchat in this ebook (also available in the Kindle store)

Using pencils

Aside from captions you can also illustrate images and video with filters, pencil annotations and stickers.

The pencil tool can be used by tapping the pencil icon in the upper right corner after taking your image or video snap. This will open up a slider which you can use to choose your pencil colour (to get black you will need to drag your finger past the slider and all the way to the bottom right of the screen; to get white drag your finger from the slider to the upper left corner of the screen).

The pencil can be used in a number of ways but common techniques include:

  • Highlighting some element in the image or video, by circling it, colouring around it, and/or drawing an arrow pointing to it
  • Making caption text easier to read by colouring behind it (text will always appear on top of pencil marks)
  • Writing text
  • Drawing on top of an image: for example giving someone sunglasses, a crown, halo, etc. Continue reading

Snapchat for journalists: a great big guide

Snapchat for journalists

I’ve put all these posts – plus a whole lot of extra help and examples – in this ebook

A few weeks ago I started writing a post about Snapchat for journalists. It ended up so long that I decided to turn it into a small ebook. But I thought I’d split that original draft – just under half the length of the finished ebook – across a number of posts here on OJB. I hope you find it useful.

In a long history of technologies journalists have struggled with, Snapchat could be the most frustrating of all.

On the one hand: promises of insane engagement and impressive advertising rates.

On the other, however…

Well. Firstly there’s the ephemeral nature of the tool: creating content designed to disappear is precisely the opposite of what journalists aspire to.

Secondly there’s that obtuse-to-the-point-of-arrogance interface that can be summed up with the advice ‘Just swipe somewhere.

And then there’s the amateurishness of the content.

If you struggled with the limitations of 140 characters, Snapchat takes things to a whole new level: vertical video, over-emotional stickers, and the choice between a) using a typeface that makes you look like a government bureaucrat in 1978, or b) scrawling bright red text on the screen like a demented crayon-wielding five year old.

Landscape video shown vertically

Fusion fail to realise that Snapchat is a vertical medium

But still…

There is that engagement. And an audience you can’t easily reach elsewhere.

And to be honest, once I got my head around Snapchat, I started to see storytelling possibilities that other platforms simply don’t offer. And I hope you will too. Continue reading

Podcast: Journalism outside the website, from WhatsApp to Email

I recently hosted a podcast discussion at Birmingham City University for my MA Online Journalism students on ‘platform publishing‘: in other words, journalism on platforms other than traditional websites.

My guests discussed their experiences of publishing for email, SnapChat, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They were: Continue reading