News coverage of violence against African-Americans during police operations might turn into a routine if not for the emergence of new tools keeping journalists on their toes. Take the killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, which unfolded before the eyes of thousands of Facebook users while his fiancée Diamond Reynolds live-streamed it to the world. Tragedy, politics and protests converged, and within hours, over a million people had watched Castile’s white T-shirt turn blood red. The live format set the pace for reporters to follow, adding a new dimension to a story they thought they knew how to tell.
Live video, formerly exclusive to television, is now at everyone’s fingertips. Any outlet can broadcast every protest, press conference and traffic jam, using only a smartphone. While news analysis, in-depth reporting and narrative storytelling are present and thriving, an audience’s desire for what’s happening right now must be met, and anyone can fill that need.
Evan Frost was a multimedia editor at MJR and the Montana Kaimin before he joined Minnesota Public Radio News as an associate photojournalist in 2016. Don’t ask how he puts photos on the radio; it’s a magical recipe.