News as we know it is poised to change, and it's in the hands of smartphone users.
On Sunday, March 31, The New York Times ran a photo of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez taken by sports photographer Nick Laham — on his iPhone and edited in Instagram. That was not the first time an Instagram-edited photo has been printed by a news outlet, but it was one of the most visible to date.
Laham shot a series of portraits in a bathroom. He didn't have much of a choice. "I wasn’t given the option of studio or bathroom stall and decided on the latter," Laham wrote on his blog. "I joined the chain of photographers at 6 a.m. in the confines of the New York Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa, and took what space I could get and worked with it."
The sports world is not the only place you'll see Instagram-edited photos. In fact, seasoned photojournalist Ben Lowy even used his iPhone and Instagram to cover turmoil in Libya last summer. He wrote that using a phone, rather than an intimidating DSLR camera, allowed him to get closer to subjects. He believes Instagram photos get more attention because viewers feel as if they are looking at a friend's photos.
Filters have also come to Getty Images, which offers high-end stock photography. Percolate, a startup that provides a social media publishing service for brands, announced today (April 1) a new service that lets its clients select photos from Getty Images, add their logo and apply filters from Aviary, the photo-editing app that powers Twitter's in-app photo editor.
But filters are just the beginning. Vine, Twitter's 6-second video app, is also changing the way news is shown. For instance, Vine's looping format can heighten emotion as viewers see a video clip repeated over and over again. The Michigan Wolverines, the only team in the NCAA Final Four that has a Vine account, posted a video showing the team's triumphant return to Crisler Center.
Major League Baseball also has embraced Vine. For now, its videos show fun and informative clips, such as showing what's inside a baseball, but once the season gets underway, there will likely be more game highlights shown as Vines.
In addition, Vine recently released an update that allows users to embed other users' Vines on their own websites, in addition to posting to Twitter. The new sharing feature should fuel the spread of Vine.
How news looks in 6-second bites
So far, most news outlets have been reluctant to use Vine. CBS has an account, but has yet to use it. NBC and its affiliates around the country have posted a handful of VInes, but have mostly focused on lighter subjects, such as cute animals and weather. However, one exception is a clip from NBC's New York affiliate that shows how Vine could be used to highlight serious news stories.
Unlike Instagram and similar sites, Vine does not include filters or voiceover capabilities.
However, there are other video-creation apps that offer these features. For example, Funky, an app launched in February, lets users add filters and record a voiceover on videos of up to 30 seconds — about the length of a typical TV news brief.
With apps like Instagram, Vine and Funky, your news could soon look a lot more like you made it yourself.