We may have seen the future of TV news this week, and we like it

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — We may have seen the future of video news this week, and we like it.

We’ve been watching the NBC News Stay Tuned newscast, which is tailored for the young people who use Snapchat, and it’s quite different from the NBC Nightly News we’ve been watching on network TV for years.

This is a good thing.

If we want to get the next generation watching news, this could be the way to do it.

Hire two young hosts, put them in hip attire, use language that assumes you know very little (“O.J. Simpson became famous for pushing yards on a football field”) have fast-moving graphics, quick cuts and split screens, eliminate lengthy sound bites and tell young folks the essence of the story.

And it works.

The episodes I watched were five minutes in length, with five stories each (roughly 60 seconds a piece).

That’s about on par with most made-for-web video, which assumes that people’s attention spans won’t last much longer than a minute before clicking away.

Television networks have not so much been losing young viewers for news, as opposed to just never getting them in the first place.

The stories NBC selected this week have been mainstream — from President Donald Trump's outburst against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. John McCain's brain cancer announcement, the pending parole release of Simpson and the suicide of Linkin Park's lead singer.  

But when it comes to news on Snapchat, the young folks who use the app like the news, if it’s presented in a way they understand.

On Snapchat, "news is straight to the point,” says Luisa Dominguez, 21, a Snapchat user from Brazil. “You look there and find out what you want to know in a short period of time.”

Beyond Snapchat, she catches up with news on Facebook and MSN, period.

The advantage of watching news on Snapchat “is it’s quick,” says Brad Black, 34, who works at a Los Angeles hospital. “You don’t have to wait for the news people to say, 'And coming up next, we’ll tell about the next story.' It’s really accessible.”

Stay Tuned, billed as Snapchat’s first daily news show, isn’t Snapchat’s first foray into news. “Good Luck, America,” hosted by former CNN correspondent Peter Hamby, debuted in 2016 and has won an Edward R. Murrow award for its first season. Its focus is on political coverage and is a bi-weekly show.

Stay Tuned airs daily at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and at 1 p.m. on weekends.

NBC is a major media partner for Snap, producing video series based on the The Voice and Saturday Night Live shows — and also a major investor, buying $500 million worth of stock when the company went public earlier this year.

Beyond the flashy graphics, we like Snap’s approach to storytelling, which could teach us a lot about how to communicate in all walks of life. Tell us what we need to know in quick, easy to understand bites, and you’ll get and keep our attention.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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