Instagram as a News Source?

Instagram has taken our worlds by storm, first looked at as an artsy outlet is now taking on new roles. You can now follow your local news stations on Instagram and more and more reporters/ writers and multimedia outlets are developing their own professional accounts.

Last night,  my Northeastern J-school buddies and I took a trip to The Boston Globe Media Lab. The joyful trek out to Dorchester proved itself to be well worth it!  Creative Technologist Chris Marstall and his staff were incredibly knowledgable and informed us of all the innovative plans the Globe has to morph along with our increasingly digital world.

What I found the most surprising about our visit was how news outlets are using Instagram and Vine along with geo-tagging as a tool. Marstall has us gather around a large television screen showing all of the Instagram photos geo-tagged in Boston over the past 24 hours. We are able to use this information to learn about users and more about the communities we live in. The lab had done the same with Vine videos posted in the past 24 hours and one of  the videos that came up in their search was filmed along Northeastern’s campus.

I think the use of these outlets for News is exciting and a I am curious to see how other news outlets begin to use it. One project by Time Magazine that was incredibly well done in my opinion was using Instagram to document Hurricane Sandy. Time Magazine actually hired 5 professional photographers to go out,  shoot and Instagram photos before, during and after the storm. “Why” is the big question I had- why Instagram instead of just publishing the photos directly to Times website. Time’s photography director, Kira Pollack called the whole thing a big experiment. Having lived in Manhattan and experienced Sandy’s wrath firsthand  I think Time did an outstanding job!

Instagram is providing the world a whole new level of communication and dissemination of information that can be used in countless ways and its exciting to see just how many different and unique ways innovators out there are coming up with.

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