You’ve been there before – natural disasters strike, a public figure dies; war breaks out somewhere in the world, perhaps even a celebrity gets arrested. After the initial excitement you probably ask yourself the same question every time:
Am I prepared to cover this story?
There are many ways that broadcasters prepare themselves for breaking news and last minute events and these include technological capabilities, editorial considerations and a critical question hovering over it all: how much will it cost?
It’s a matter of timing and relevancy, whether you just spent all of your quarterly budget to cover the recent Winter Olympic Games, what other, more local stories you might have and many, many other considerations.
Here are few suggestions and alternative ways to cover news in relatively rapid time:
If you are a global broadcaster, you probably know many freelancers. Still it is a good practice to work on your list and start connecting with freelancers worldwide that you might need someday. As the industry expands, many freelancers are looking to serve international media and not just their homeland broadcasters. Next time you need footage, even for a small piece of an article, try using a local freelancer from where the event is happening. It can be through your connections or competitors and you can always ask LiveU services. In a few weeks’ time, we will be adding freelancers’ services to the LiveU Central map view, to make it easier to find and connect to the many freelancers out there.
2) Production houses
Just as with freelancers, you’re probably already working with some. These are professional outfits who usually have more equipment and backup than an individual freelancer. Look for a production house where you need it and call them. I’ve used many new production houses with great success in many events – planned and unplanned.
Sometimes you need to join forces, whether it’s with your local competitor or a broadcaster from where the news is happening. While it’s true that this industry is very competitive, reaching out to other stations can result in interesting forms of cooperation that will eventually help both sides deliver the goods. Today you may need a favor; tomorrow you will return a favor.
If you can find and reach a citizen who is close to the event, there are many excellent ways today to engage them and bring their stream to your control room. It can be a picture in WhatsApp (yes, the $19 billion App… I know broadcasters and media companies who use it daily for photos and video…) or one of the other live streaming applications out there. If you want something more professional you can use the LU-Smart iPhone / Android app and engage citizens “ad hoc” by getting a code from LiveU Central and sending it to a citizen who then just needs to download LU-Smart and insert the code. From that point on he is your eyes and ears out there in the field. On a side note, LiveU is also introducing a new and exciting feature at NAB this year called “Be-First” which is quite revolutionary... stay tuned (or come to LiveU booth #SU8315 J)
Professional services by news agencies and companies that offer to be there for you whether it is by using their own gear or renting some. LiveU recently launched its own services platform with a proposed catalog of events and the ability to book / order other events, and send crews to unplanned ones. If you are already a LiveU customer, you may be able to bring your own unit for event coverage; occasionally you will need to rent one locally. Check out the LiveU Services page for the full event catalog.
Head of Services