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The revolution will be live streamed

A live video stream using the Meerkat App stream from a helicopter over New York City on March 21, 2015.
A live video stream using the Meerkat App stream from a helicopter over New York City on March 21, 2015.
Anthony Quintano/Flick

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Two new video-streaming apps could change your definition “live” news.

Periscope and Meerkat are designed to give anybody with a smartphone the ability to broadcast live to the world within seconds. The new technology could make verbal eyewitness accounts a thing of the past.

The two new apps have attracted a lot of attention … and money. Twitter recently shelled out $100 million dollars to buy Periscope, while Meerkat picked up $14 million during its most recent round of funding yesterday.

Both apps are designed to interface smoothly with Twitter. Once a connection is established, the app will notify a person’s followers that they are streaming live. Smartphone users only need to open the app and tap “Stream.”

The live-streaming race is just getting started, but Meerkat has already received a huge boost; Jimmy Fallon recently used the app to broadcast his rehearsals for the ‘Tonight Show.’

As live mobile video apps enter into the mainstream, the possibilities for journalism seem endless. As an explosion and fire destroyed a building in New York yesterday, one Periscope user tapped the app and started streaming.

The capacity to share images from the scene of breaking new may enhance our viewing experience at home, but making every smartphone owner a live cameraman can be risky; ordinary civilians may get in the way of emergency responders, or even put themselves in harm’s way to get the best footage. The tools of a reporter don’t come with the judgment of one.

Have you used Meerkat or Periscope? How can live-streaming apps revolutionize the media world? What are the potential risks?


Ashley Esqueda, senior editor at CNET TV and host of the show “Tomorrow Daily”

Robert Hernandez, professor of digital journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism