The Saratoga Sun -

Down by the old live stream

 

September 12, 2018



“He’s working the retail politics hard, cracking wise at every picnic and barbecue from Cody to Cheyenne and engaging in the occasional barroom debate, including one at the Bear Trap Cafe & Bar in Riverside, where he went mano a mano with two Democrats and a painting of Liz Cheney propped up in a chair, live-streamed on video by the local newspaper.”

~ GQ Magazine

“The Pro-Environment Republican Trying to Take Down Liz Cheney”

To be honest, I had no idea that the Saratoga Sun was going to be mentioned, albeit not by name, in a profile on Rod Miller until after it was published. I didn’t even see the article until a few days after it was published online (Aug. 20). I only saw the article because it was shared by Margaret Weber and it finally appeared on my newsfeed. While that wasn’t my intention when I first proposed the idea of streaming the event to Margaret, that hasn’t stopped me from being a little excited about the mention.

Regular readers of this newspaper who also have a Facebook page will probably know that this was not the first, nor the last, time that the Saratoga Sun live-streamed an event online. The Sun streamed video of Ed Glode facing off against Johnny Archer during the Wyoming Open as well as Glode’s press conference during the Saratoga Forest Management sawmill fire in April. Following the town hall forum at the Bear Trap, the newspaper also live-streamed both nights of the Valley Service Organizations (VSO) primary election forum.

My intention, when I began live-streaming events—especially the candidate forums, was simple. I wanted to provide accessibility to people who were unable, whether due to health or scheduling, to make it to these events. The press conference in April, for example, was watched by more than just people in the Valley. For one thing, the Casper Star-Tribune used the video to write a story about the fire. Far more importantly, though, were the former residents as well as family and friends of current residents who wanted answers and wanted them now.

While I was live-streaming the second night of the VSO forum, a close friend of mine messaged me to tell me how much she appreciated that the Sun was streaming the event. While she wanted to attend, she was juggling the real-life struggles of a job and a child. Thanks to the live-stream, and the video remaining online afterwards, she was able to watch and be informed during the course of bedtime.

The Saratoga Sun is not the first newspaper to use social media, the technology some claim is killing the industry, to its advantage ... and it won’t be the last. These newspapers are often larger publications that publish daily and have more subscribers along with more funding that can be directed to digital outreach.

If you have seen our videos, you’ve probably noticed that they’re not the best quality. The picture is pixelated from time to time and the sound is a little tinny. There’s a reason for this: we are using a small 1080p webcam with an internal microphone. In the past, I’ve also used my iPhone to stream events. Neither of these are high quality video equipment, but they get the job done and that’s the important part—getting the job done.

Just because we don’t have the technology that other, larger, newspapers have doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and move forward into the 21st century. What technology is available to us should be utilized to reach our audience and beyond, even if it means putting my smartphone on a selfie stick.

There may be some out there who think that social media platforms are the death knell of print media. It’s only the end of print media, though, if we refuse to adapt and use it to our advantage.

 

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