By Lisa Diethelm
Cronkite News will give audiences a peek behind the television production curtain with 60-minute videos presented on the online streaming service Twitch.
Starting Monday, students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will use Twitch to show audiences how a newscast is produced, how sports teams are covered, how the weather “green screen” works and what it takes to be an anchor.
This experiment is part of the school’s Table Stakes Project, which works to develop strategies on promoting innovation in TV news. The Twitch presentations are an effort to increase transparency on how Cronkite News works, reach a younger audience and serve as an innovation testbed to determine whether Twitch could be useful to professional news stations.
“At Arizona State University, we’re all about innovation. How does that translate into what we do at Cronkite News? It means we want to keep experimenting in ways that will benefit the whole industry,” said Cronkite News Executive Editor Christina Leonard. “We’re not afraid to try new tools and take fresh approaches to see what resonates. We think different platforms, such as Twitch, could play an important role in the future of journalism. We want to help find solutions.”
Through online streaming and chatting, Twitch prompts its audiences to interact and discuss the videos on a variety of topics including entertainment, gaming, music, travel and food.
Cronkite News will stream on Twitch for one hour starting Monday, Feb. 22, at 2:30 p.m. MST, focusing on the nightly newscast, which airs on Arizona PBS at 5:30 p.m. Each day, one student will moderate the stream and another will guide viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour.
“Projects like this give our students a chance to shine. We’re confident that when they walk into a newsroom after they graduate, they will have the skills – and the confidence – to pitch fresh ideas, collaborate with others and lead the way on innovation,” Leonard said.
Here is the schedule for Cronkite News’ Twitch livestreaming segments:
Monday, Feb. 22: Weather anchors explain how the forecast is produced and how the green screen works.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Sports reporters explain how to cover local teams, find great stories and weave it all together for the nightly sports segment.
Wednesday, Feb. 24: Producers will demonstrate what it takes to prepare a newscast and how the news is transmitted to viewers’ televisions.
Thursday, Feb. 25: News anchors talk about their jobs and how they prepare for broadcast in the studio.
Viewers can access the Twitch livestream by going to Twitch.tv and searching Cronkite News , and they can sign up for a free account to comment on streams and follow favorites. Streams will also be posted as videos on the Cronkite News YouTube page .
The Local Television News Innovation Table Stakes Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through a $1.9 million grant to advance digital and broadcast innovation in local television news.