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Wednesday, July 29 • 15:16 - 16:45
"The Never-Ending Story: Snapchat Storytelling Techniques Among News Organizations"

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Author: Shauna Rempel

Snapchat has changed enormously since it launched in September 2011, evolving from a platform to share time-sensitive, self-deleting private messages to a place for news organizations to reach a young, highly engaged audience. With the launch of Snapchat Discover in January 2015, the app’s estimated nearly 200 million active users (Shontell, 2015) now have two ways to consume news content — through 12 major media partners in the Discover feature and via photo and video updates (collectively known as “snaps”) posted to the public “Stories” area by account holders in the main app (Team Snapchat, 2013). But either way, the news is inherently ephemeral, lasting a maximum of 24 hours — “because what’s news today is history tomorrow” (Team Snapchat, 2015). This work-in-progress paper will describe the range of techniques being used by specialty and mainstream news organizations to tell stories within the parameters of the main app. As social media strategist for Global News, the author has first-hand experience running the globalnews1 Snapchat account. Drawing from this experience, commonly accepted practices and processes will be described. News organizations such as Global News employ several storytelling techniques within the main app to engage Snapchat users, including but not limited to: video interviews, selfies, real-time raw videos, polls, behind-the-scenes images, and “takeovers” in which a reporter shares his or her daily routine. Sometimes these snaps are standalone vignettes; other times they are meant to be viewed consecutively as part of an unfolding theme. 
In addition, the paper will include interviews with journalists at several U.S. news organizations who work in Snapchat. 

Sam Sheffer, the journalist who runs the Snapchat account for technology website theverge.com, spoke of the need for consistent updates posted to therealverge’s “Story” throughout the day so that it essentially never ends (S. Sheffer, personal communication, March 24, 2015). Rolando Pujol, the social media editor behind the Snapchat account for New York TV news station PIX11, described the storytelling strategy for the pix11news account as a “rolling narrative” (R. Pujol, personal communication, March 25, 2015). The author’s own experience at Global News backs up that editorial need for a never-ending story, built one snap at a time. 


Wednesday July 29, 2015 15:16 - 16:45
(7th Floor) Room TRS1-129 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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