By Natan Edelsburg, SVP

May 15, 2015 | 6 min read

Instant live streaming apps Periscope (from Twitter) and Meerkat have generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the industry over the past several months. The platforms have already changed live news coverage as we saw with a major fire in New York City's East Village, the Mayweather Pacquiao fight and the recent train crash in Philadelphia.

While many critics say that apps like Periscope and Meerkat will threaten live TV news, PIX11 and their new News at 6 program in New York City have proven that embracing new social platforms can actually enhance a news broadcast and provide an inside look to viewers that they were never able to see before.

Earlier this week anchors Tamsen Fadal, Ojinika Obiekwe, Greg Mocker and Executive Producer Zack R. Smith hosted a segment that I joined where we not only talked about Periscope and Meerkat but actually Persicoped the entire time cutting in and out of both live feeds. The full video segment is above. We interviewed Fadal and Smith about the News at 6 program and how they're embracing social TV for local news in a fun and unique way.

Found Remote: Which are you favorite social platforms and why?

Tamsen Fadal: I love love love Instagram. It is a great mix of everything and of course I am also having a blast with Periscope.

Facebook will also be my first love - simply because it is what enables me to communicate with our viewers and see their photos and have conversations easily.

FR: Why have you been using Periscope and Meerkat, what's it been like?

TF: I have been using Periscope and it is great to show people what goes on behind the scenes and during the newscast at PIX11 news.

It makes them part of the conversation which is always our goal. I love to hear from and listen to what our viewers have to say and what they want to see and hear.

Periscope allows us to bring to them the news from all angles of the studio.

FR: How has social media helped you as an author?

TF: Social media is the reason I felt inspired to write The New Single. After my divorce was public, I heard from so many women on Facebook and Twitter about their own experiences and I knew that we all had something to talk about. To this day I have conversations there with advice, inspiring quotes on Tamsen Fadal and New Single Book Facebook and Twitter pages.

FR: Anything else?

TF: I'm forever excited to see what the next new social media site has to bring! Join us at PIX11 5pm, 6pm and 10pm and tell us what you want to talk about!

FR: How are you using social media at PIX11?

Zack R. Smith: I don’t think a lot of television stations or news programs have effectively captured an appropriate, intelligent and creative use of social media. All of the pieces are there, but most stations haven’t quite figured out how to put them together to make good television. We’re giving it a shot with all the tools we can - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, now Periscope, and we’re experimenting with Snapchat.

With all that being said, this is still the evening new, so, we can’t take this noble experiment too far. Instead, we’re trying to give our viewers a nice mix of the breaking news, the news of the day, and the stories that people are already talking about on social media, while giving them a chance to join in that conversation.

FR: How has social media transformed local news?

ZRS: It’s still very much a work in progress, that transformation. A lot of stations and a lot of producers don’t get “it” just yet. How to turn it into compelling television. Social media has certainly and quickly transformed the news gathering process. An amtrak train derailed the other night in Philadelphia. The first ground pictures out of the scene were on Twitter and Instagram. The NYPD is seriously into Twitter and the reaction to certain stories from even the most casual viewers on Facebook helps shape the way some stories need to be told. The perspective that everyday people can put on a story helps shape our coverage. Plus, it’s immediate interaction with our viewers. We can talk to them and they can talk to us while news is happening.

FR: As an EP how are you using social media? What are your favorite platforms?

ZRS: As an EP, Twitter is my number one tool for news gathering. My Twitter feed is probably a little more unorthodox than most producers, but that’s based on perspective and epistemology. As far as communicating with our viewers, though, the hands down choice is Facebook. Right now, Twitter is for news people and Facebook is for real people.

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