Austin, Texas - UT journalism students are leading the way in reporting via Snapchat, a real-time picture/video chatting app that is gaining traction in modern journalism. Professor Robert Quigley incorporated Snapchat into his Social Media Journalism course and facilitates opportunities for students to become experts on reporting with the platform including projects with the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Tribune and Snapchat itself. Use our burgeoning journalists’ Top Five Tips for Reporting via Snapchat to become a media guru!

“Snapchat is the go-to social media platform for college students, so it’s a natural to have them experiment on using it for journalistic purposes,” says Robert Quigley, senior lecturer of Journalism. “It’s a great medium for journalism because it is built on a nice mix of photography, broadcast, text and social interaction. Plus, the students think it’s fun.”  


Snapchat is a unique video medium and requires strategic planning. Storyboarding is encouraged! Consider introductory snaps, especially if you are a reporter taking over a publication’s Snapchat account, transition snaps, title snaps, closing snaps and “meat of the story” snaps. It may also help to do a quick walkthrough of interviews beforehand to figure out how you want to order the information.


Some of the most engaging Snapchat news accounts break the format of a typical Snapchat news story with quick snaps, videos made from two-second black screens (à la Mic’s Snapchat) and emojis. Be creative: even serious news accounts and stories benefit from filters and coloring. Keep people’s attention by taking advantage of the medium’s features.


Find individual parts of an event to focus on besides the main attraction of the event itself, which is often a featured speaker that is difficult to capture. Sound on Snapchat isn’t ideal, and zooming in granulates a subject. Find some people to talk to, food to show, or natural sound. Use details to really set the scene.


Always remember that you’re creating a story. Your snaps should all connect to form a coherent narrative. When one story ends, another should begin, with intros and conclusions. Every snap should relate to the story.


Before you post, triple check your captions. You can delete snaps, but you can’t edit them after they’re posted. Take a lot of snaps, put them in the story, then go back and use the best ones. Editing helps ensure that the narrative is coherent. Even if you don’t plan on cutting any snaps, looking over the story is never a bad idea.