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Ole Miss Students Use Streaming Apps to Cover Campus Construction

In a world of Snapchat and Yik Yak, it can be hard to know whether that cutesy name actually refers to a powerful communication tool or just another digital gimmick. Wednesday morning, students in an Introduction to Mass Communication class at Ole Miss tested out the live streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope to report the latest on a number of campus construction projects.

John David Santi hit Vaught-Hemingway to check in on the end zone construction project. Using Meerkat, Santi streamed his interview to @MeekJournalism, the Meek School of Journalism & New Media’s Twitter account.

Caitlin Kottenstette took the narrator approach to update the audience on residence hall construction. Both Meerkat and Periscope allow viewers to comment and express their appreciation for the live reporting in real-time.

Instructor Roy Frostenson invited the Meek School’s Deb Wenger to conduct the class today, recognizing the importance of introducing students to new technologies as a way to engage audiences differently.

“These live streaming apps offer new and great storytelling possibilities for journalists, but like with any tool, they’re only good if you know how to use them, so testing these new methods is crucial,” said Frostenson.

Journalism student Crimens Clifford chose the Honors College expansion as her testing ground.

“Going live with the app was a little intimidating at first because I knew strangers would be watching. But after a while, it felt a lot more natural when I tried to block my mind of the camera being on me,” said Clifford.

Though there’s no way to know if Meerkat or Periscope will be around even one year from now, the need to understand when live streaming is called for and how to do it effectively is essential for anyone working in the communications field right now.

“These are the tools that journalists are using today and the world that we live in – a digital world where the news consumer is not only expecting but demanding immediate and live access to events, so it’s important that our students learn now how to use these tools responsibly and creatively,” said Frostenson.

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