Outfit Your School Newspaper with Live Reporting
In the Kevin Rose sphere of the web, streaming live video is just beginning to take off. Guys like Kevin are just using streaming video from their phones as a novelty.
While brainstorming with Chris about things that could bring the Loyolan up to speed, we came up with live reporting. There’s a trifecta of a tool set online right now that enables a newspaper to transform itself into a streaming video-capable publication overnight. And all of this can be done for about $2000/year.
The Device – The Nokia N95
I first saw an N95 in person at the Austin Convention Center at South by Southwest. I remember the exact location because it was a life-changing experience.
The N95 could best be described as a digital camera with a phone. It’s got a few other features as well, but on the whole it lacks in storage and battery life departments. If your newspaper ends up buying one, make sure you get an extra battery.
The beast is 3G (of course). 3G allows phones some really fast data transfer speeds. It’s awesome.
The N95 is not a phone you would expect to buy for $800. It has no QWERTY keyboard. It’s screen is good, but not great. But this thing is a video-streaming machine, which makes it perfect for a school newspaper. Reporters won’t be tempted to use it as a personal phone when not recording.
The Distribution – Qik
So the N95 can stream video, but where will all of those bits go? Currently, Qik (pronounced “quick”) seems to be the most popular one. Actually, I pulled that out of my ass. But I do know that Kevin Rose uses it and it works well.
Qik is currently in alpha. In general, all of these services are rough around the edges. It’s tough on servers to accept and then stream out live video. Whichever one has releases a good API will be key to the success of the newspaper streaming project.
The Hook – Twitter
Something like this is pointless if readers never see when a reporter starts streaming. Thankfully, Qik makes Twitter integration easy. Every time a reporter starts recording, a Tweet can be sent out through an account with a link to the live streaming video.
If we take this a step further, some simple coding would allow us to reorganize the newspaper’s home page whenever some live video is being shot and post the video on the front page.
Who knows, maybe we’ll integrate this into College Press…
The Price – Cost Breakdown
There are 2 things that really need to be purchased to put this plan into motion, the phone and the data plan.
The phone itself is pricey, nearly twice the price of an iPhone. At the time of this post, the top-of-the-line N95 model is going for $758.99, with ones with less on-board memory and accessible bands going for $529.99. Yikes. But this thing allows you to stream video from (almost) anywhere straight to the Internet(s).
The data plan would have been a headache pre-iPhone. Thanks to the device out of Cupertino, everyone is benefiting. Unlimited data plans are becoming more and more popular. The non-iPhone users can be happy too. The average going rate of an unlimited data plan is somewhere upwards of $100/month. The N95 will work with any cell carrier using GSM, e.g. AT&T or T-Mobile.
The Reporter – That Techhead on Staff
Every staff has that one guy that seems to know more about computers than Wikipedia itself. They probably have an iPhone. They probably spend more time on their laptop than most. They probably are into biking, etc.
I’m that guy on Loyolan‘s staff right now. My official title is “Web Editor,” but I’m also in charge of everything silicon in the office.
Hand an N95 to a guy like me and tell him to stream live events through the website. After the momentary glee fit, your campus newspaper just became a campus news hub.
Approach your campus newspapers with this proposal. What do you guys think?