What NPR learned from broadcasting more than 1,375 videos on Facebook Live

Insights, Reinventing Local TV News
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“This is totally new for me to join you this way,” said National Public Radio host Robert Siegel while reporting on Facebook Live from Luxembourg just before the Brexit vote last year. That live, on-camera interview conducted by a radio reporter was one of more than 1,375 Facebook Live videos NPR says it’s done since it started experimenting with the platform. In a blogpost published last week, NPR Training wrote up some of the lessons they’ve learned about producing live videos. Below, some of their most helpful tips:

  • “When possible, avoid a talking-head, broadcast model. Always look for ways to add interactivity or visual value.”
  • Not surprisingly, “on-location breaking news” has proven popular.
  • “You can shoot a Facebook Live video by yourself. When at all possible, though, it’s preferable to have someone else holding the camera and, ideally, another person fielding questions and providing context and links in the comments.”
  • Ask viewers for questions and comments during the broadcast. “Respond to comments! You can read and curate them during a broadcast — and you really ought to.”
  • Make videos that feature “interaction with hosts and guests.”
  • Go “behind the scenes,” like in the studio with Korva Coleman.
  • Use “mesmerizing visuals” that audiences can enjoy with the sound off.

NPR Training also listed their Facebook Live audio and video equipment, including both a mobile kit and an HD kit.



Storybench’s editor is Aleszu Bajak, a science journalist and former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. He is an alum of Science Friday, the founder of LatinAmericanScience.org, and is passionate about breaking down the divide between journalists, developers and designers.

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