Snapchat: Changing the world of journalism

Posted by Beth LeValley

Snapchat recently updated its app, adding a feature called Snapchat Discover that allows top news outlets to post bits of information to the younger generation. With a few swipes of your finger, you can watch the top news stories fly by in under 30 seconds. These stories are replaced every 24 hours, much like the Snapchat Story feature.

With this new feature, Snapchat’s goal is to incorporate paid advertising in their app without being invasive. This also allows news sources to reach a younger audience. Before the update, Snapchat’s users were the ages 13-25, roughly, and that will remain its key demographic. While Snapchat does not expect to broaden its audience, it hopes to create another outlet for journalism to reach these millennials already using Snapchat.

Snapchat also included their own media outlet, tailoring news stories specifically to the audience they know best. As asked in a Wired article, “[i]f Snapchat can give its users an endless supply of stories from its own team, plus the best of what everyone else has to offer, plus access to all the silly selfies and self-destructing videos that made it what it is today, why would users go anywhere else?”

While I am not an avid Snapchat user, I have looked into Snapchat Discover and see the capabilities this new feature has. Because the app is so accessible and readily available to millennials, I foresee this being the younger generation’s main news source. The fast-paced and almost entertainment quality Snapchat has added to news creates excitement for those who are used to the changing environment of the modern world.

Will Snapchat become as big as I think it will? Has there been enough hype for Snapchat Discover to reach its full potential? Will it create a more digestible news source? Does anyone frequently use Snapchat Discover now?

Watch the “Introducing Discover” clip here:

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5 responses to “Snapchat: Changing the world of journalism

  1. I like the new Snapchat feature and I’ve browsed through the news stories myself to see what was being featured. It’s a good quick way to see what’s happening. However, I worry that it focuses too much on the “entertainment” factor and doesn’t really give a lot of hard news. It also narrows the scope of what information people are receiving, which could be dangerous if this is the only way a young individual is getting news.

  2. Honestly, I had no idea about this new feature until I read this blog post. Snapchat has been doing something similar to this for the past year or so, posting highlights from big events like the World Cup or the Super Bowl for everyone to view. I always ignore those because that’s not what I use Snapchat for, so if this new news update is anything like that, I probably won’t find it very effective. To each their own, though.

  3. I think a lot of mobile app developers try to make their application the “one-stop shop” for all users. Snapchat’s developers are clearly doing just that.

    What originally started out as a way to send fleeting pictures and videos to your friends has now spiraled into so much more; first, a banking app (a poor one at that) with Snap Cash, and now an entertainment / news source with Snap Discovery.

    In my humble opinion, it seems as though Snapchat is trying to cover too many unrelated consumer needs. Sure, Facebook might have been successful but they were the trail blazers in their market doing what no body has every done before. Consumers already have access to the various features through other applications and will likely not switch to Snapchat to cover these needs.

    Just as Molly said above, “I always ignore these [features] because that’s not what Snapchat is for.” Consumers already have the predetermined notion that Snapchat is simply used to communication with other users through photos and videos. Anything branching too far from that core concept seems strange to the user — something that cannot be trusted entirely. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it will be very hard for Snap Chat to reposition themselves in another market.

  4. I also am not an avid snapchatter. While I’d heard about this new feature, I hadn’t tried it out myself until it got brought up in class, so I updated my app to check it out. While I’m impressed with the app’s attempt to deliver news to a younger audience, I don’t know if I see Snapchat becoming a popular source for news.
    Personally, I only watch snapchat stories if I’m really bored, and I assume I’ll use the discover feature the same way. If I were on a super long road trip, for example, and had exhausted all of my go-to news/entertainment outlets, then maybe I’d check it out again. The problem is, thanks to Twitter and Web content constantly being added, I’m never going to run out of content on other channels.
    I’m a huge follower of Cosmopolitan.com, and while they’ve got a tab on the Discover page, they’re also constantly adding new content to their website and Twitter. Because of this, I doubt I’ll resort to using Snapchat to find content–plus I’ve probably already read it anyway.

  5. I echo Molly’s “that’s not what I use Snapchat for” sentiment, as well as Kendall’s doubts about going to Snapchat first for content. I would also add, though, that I’m not the biggest fan of video news. If an article has a video attached, I almost never click on it. I’d much rather read about it than watch a video. I like to skim sometimes, and videos–especially on mobile–aren’t the best for that.

    And I also have to wonder how in-depth news can get with this feature. If Snapchat is trying to bring news to an audience, will it be the hard, breaking news? Or more fluff pieces? It’ll be interesting to see where this pans out.

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