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Helpful Tips for Journalists on Periscope

Periscope has been gaining popularity the past few weeks, and with all of the 'scopes coming out of Baltimore - the impact of live streaming apps is more apparent than ever. 

But, with new technology comes questions and learning curves. Obviously I'm still a newbie on periscope as well ( @meeterica is my handle) but, since I worked in a newsroom for 10 years I can feel the pain of journalists everywhere trying to learn how to work this in the most efficient way possible, quickly. 

photo: periscope via the stream of @paulLewis 

photo: periscope via the stream of @paulLewis 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when "scoping." 

Periscope Pointers:

1. People can hear you. All of the time.

Remember when you were taught that the mic is always on? Yes, remember that from J school!

Example: This seems like a no-brainer, but I saw a stream from a TV station the other day shooting a monitor with pool footage, and in the background the producer was asking questions about Antiques Roadshow. During the Baltimore protests. Ouch. Be careful.

2. Answer questions if possible. 

It's a social platform. If you don't answer questions, and ignore your viewers - people will get angry, quickly.

In a way it's like having a press conference, but standing at the podium in silence. If you are not allowed to answer questions, tell them, kindly.  Make sure they know you aren't ignoring them. Being polite goes a long way. 

3. Comments bothering you/obstructing your view during a stressful situation? Hide them.

Do this by swiping right, scrolling down, and hitting "hide chat."

Keep in mind though, that even though you can't see it, doesn't mean others can't. The chat is still there, but invisible to you. If you think the chat may be disturbing to others as well, clue them in on how to hide it - they may just tune in longer. 

4. Is someone harassing you? Block them.

Yes, you are a journalist and should listen, but I would argue that if you fear for your safety, and the person won't have a rational conversation and is distracting you from doing your job, they should be blocked.*

Etiquette: rule of thumb would be to warn them first, if you go by social media etiquette - simply saying, "NickelbackLover213, if you contribute in a rude or threatening manner, you'll be banned." I've actually had people apologize to me, and beg to be kept on the stream - mainly because sometimes sarcasm and intent doesn't translate well in comments, and they are simply joking. 

*Please note: blocking someone does not block them from the current broadcast that is open. They will still be able to participate, but you won't see it. The good news? They can't see any of your broadcasts after the current one is over. 

5. You can send your broadcast to limited/certain people.

Do you want only certain co-workers to see your broadcast? Perhaps your producer or reporter? Make it a private broadcast (the icon that looks like a padlock).

Select the people from your friends list, that you hope will see it. Send it to them. It will not be sent to the "watch now" tab. But, as with any new app, keep in mind...flubs can happen. Still keep the "mic is always on" demeanor, and if you see screen names you don't recognize entering the scope, you know something is up and it's accidentally been pushed out.

6. Watch out for yourself.

As Paul Lewis said on his stream tonight in Baltimore (to 2.3k viewers), "For every moment I am holding this camera, I am not looking out for my well-being. I need to log off. Thank you." 

7. You can save your broadcast!

Hit "save to camera roll." 

8. Your video doesn't immediately disappear from the stream. 

It should be available for reply up to 24 hours after you shoot it.

If you don't want people to be able to replay your video (for example: you were just shooting a test), simply open it, scroll to the bottom, and hit "Delete Replay." 

9. Show people love. Hearts are positive. 

People like what they see and/or want you to shoot more of it. Pretty simple. If you want to give someone a heart, just double tap the screen of their broadcast. But, please...don't beg for hearts. You look desperate. 

10. My scopes aren't pushing to twitter, even when I hit the tweet button?

I talk about this in my tutorial video (about 3 minutes in). More than likely it's in your device settings under twitter. 

11. Get quicker answers from followers. 

This is simple. Ask a multiple choice question, and ask them to choose 1 or 2 as their answer. Much quicker than making them retype. Example, "Should I buy a Creed record, or Nickelback you guys? 1 for Creed. 2 for Nickelback." (the answer should be no, to both, btw. ewwww.) 

Any other questions? Feel free to tweet me at @meeterica or email me at: erica@pukerainbows.com 


I am a former Creative Producer/Director for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. Currently I own this lovely company (Puke Rainbows). It's a blast. Need a speaker? I like talking. And Nickelback jokes. I've graced the stages of: 

National Press Photographers Association Workshop, Best of the Midwest Journalism Convention, The Midwest Journalism Conference, Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Social Lights Bootcamp (keynote), AdFed 32 Under 32 (keynote), Social Media Breakfast, Minnesota Association of Government Communicators, and many private speaking events/workshops for companies/news orgs about video production, tease writing, social media, and
even online dating stories if you really want to be entertained.