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Snapchat is using student media, UH should be up next

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The purpose of news is to be as quick as possible. Even though the newspaper will have appreciating archival value, it is no longer as quick as it used to be.

The quickest medium is now the internet, and breaking, developing and consuming news happens there. Online news is not just by way of publication websites; it is from social media.

One of the newer social media platforms, Snapchat, has made a space for news to be as instant and user-friendly as possible. Publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal provide live coverage of the Emmys on this platform.

Snapchat has now gone local by recruiting college publications to provide their own stories on the platform.

Snapchat began this project with four universities across the nation. The Daily Californian from the University of California, Berkeley, The Battalion from Texas A&M University, The Daily Orange from Syracuse University and The Badger Herald from the University of Wisconsin will all be creating weekly material on Snapchat.

Kiyan Badkoubeh, psychology sophomore and news producer for the University of Houston’s CoogTV, thinks that Snapchat is moving in the right direction.

“I think the news is extremely efficient through social media, because it reaches targeted audiences that traditional ways don’t,” Badkoubeh said.

This one of the best things Snapchat could have done because they are further catering to their core audience.

More than 45 percent of Snapchat users are between the ages 18 and 24, and people under 25 spend at least 40 minutes per day on the app. This is perfect for people in college media who have to cater to the hyper-local students of the campus.

This begs the question: Is it a good idea for UH to be a part of this new forum?

Houston has a lot going on, which makes the University active as well. News that is about, for and in the best format to reach students makes it appropriate for the Center for Student Media at UH to partake.

“I think that it’s beneficial for both organizations, because in the real world, those social media sites allow for information to get out to students in a more convenient way,” Badkoubeh said. “Not everyone is going to want to go to our websites or click on our videos.”

Recently, CoogTV displayed the power of social media-produced news and students reacted positively. The on-campus Chick-fil-A started serving breakfast, something that students have been begging for, and CoogTV used Instagram to get the news out.

“We got a lot of people replying back to saying that ‘oh this is really cool,’ and I think a lot more people saw the content, versus if we just uploaded a video,” Badkoubeh said.

For we media students, to both prepare for the real world and better serve our peers with campus news, we need to both utilize social media to meet our viewers where they are. Going to them, instead of them coming to us, is how we are going to get more clicks and more relevance.

If Snapchat wants to sponsor us, then that’s cool, too.

“It’s (social media news) growing because social media is growing,” Badkoubeh said. “It’s becoming a new factor in the same way when television was brought to the face.”

Opinion Editor Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected].   

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