Citizen Journalist Guide to Live-Streaming Video

This guide is available in Arabic. This is also available in Burmese Citizen Journalist Guide to Live Streaming Video (Burmese)

Introduction

As a citizen journalist, you will undoubtedly find yourself at the scene of breaking news, be it fortuitously or as part of a planned reporting project. If events unfold around you, and all you have is your laptop, tablet or even just a mobile phone, you are in luck. You can use any number of available live streaming services to not only broadcast what you see in real-time, but also to engage with your followers and share the video on other websites.

Live streaming is the act of simultaneously filming and sharing video content. Some live streaming services will also save and archive your 'stream' or video. One benefit to live streaming is that no editing is needed. It's a great platform for events that are unfolding quickly, allowing you to share breaking news and information as it happens. And you can live stream directly from your mobile device.
 
We see great examples of live streaming video all the time; recently, it's been used to cover Occupy events around the world and to share events during uprisings in Egypt, Syria and Libya. In fact, live streaming platforms are so sleek these days that even professional newsrooms are live streaming reports from the field.  A newsroom in the US, for example, tries to use Bambuser every day to complement existing coverage and to create impromptu, stand-alone reports.

However, live streaming may not always be appropriate.  Live streaming requires a connection and it may not be possible for you to stream where you have low-bandwidth.  Additionally, it is important to consider whether filming people in action will put them at risk. Depending on the context in which you’re reporting, an inability to edit video before you share it can be a drawback to live streaming.  For example, in some situations you may want to shoot video and obscure people's identities through blurring or blocking faces (by using tools like ObscuraCam).  You will not be able to do this while you are streaming.
 
This guide will cover online video streaming, which is fast becoming one of the more popular ways for citizen journalists to distribute video. We highlight top tips for a high-quality live stream and suggested tools, and we walk you through how to set up and share your own live stream on a computer and a mobile device.
 
We recommend you first review the Video for Change Citizen Journalist Guide to Mobile Video, which covers the basics of citizen journalism on your mobile device, including visual storytelling, shooting sequences, choosing the right phone and equipment, recommended tools, and security issues.

 

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