Last October, at Twitter’s New York City headquarters, journalists’ use of Vine took front and center like never before.
At the first Vine Journalism Awards, winners (some actually best described as citizen journalists) were honored for harnessing six seconds of video to deliver news with the Twitter-owned app. Omar Villafranca, now a Dallas Correspondent at CBS Newspath, emerged as a finalist for shooting the July 2013 video below that shows pro-choice advocates protesting an anti-abortion bill.
Villafranca gave more background on the video and shares other ways he uses Vine.
When and why did you decide to use Vine?
I started using Vine about a year ago. I was already using Twitter and posting pictures for reporting purposes, so video was the next thing I wanted to try. I was looking for a quick and easy way to quick bursts of video into my Twitter timeline.
Can you give a brief backstory on the Vine you won an award for?
I was covering the Texas Legislature and the abortion rights battle that was brewing. I had posted about a dozen Vines that day on the proceedings, the votes and the crowds in the rotunda. After the measure passed the Senate, a large crowd was outside the gallery. Tensions were already high after a long week of emotional debate.
A large group of Pro-Choice folks were sitting down and chanting. They didn’t want to move after Texas [Department of Public Safety] troopers asked them to disperse. A scuffle ensued and it quickly turned into a scene with troopers dragging away members of the crowd. Some members allowed the troopers to move them, some put up a fight.
I just grabbed my phone and used the app and posted it to my Twitter timeline. I was also taking pictures with my phone. Two photojournalists I was working with were getting video with a [much] better camera, but I knew I could get these images out must faster with my phone.
How has your Vine usage evolved over time?
My Vine usage hasn’t changed too much. I’ve always used it for work and for candid moments. A way to tease to a story or show what is happening now that we’ll show more of later.
If I see something while my photojournalist partner is shooting with the big camera, I’ll record it on my phone and post it to Vine. A lot of what I shoot on my phone won’t make it into the story because of time constraints, but sometimes it’s a little extra nugget, or perspective for a story.
Also, I don’t always post Vines to Twitter. Sometimes I just post them on my Vine account. I’m pretty sure there is no journalistic value in a Vine showing my dog, but if it’s a way to get me to practice using the app, the little hound will be my test subject.
One major concern is having context, and other journalistic principles, in a six-second video. How can journos use Vine to report news ethically and accurately?
I can understand the concerns about using Vine ethically. If it’s any place a camera is allowed, I’ll use the app. I’ll also type some text with the video to give context of what I’m showing.
See more of the award-winning Vines, as well as other Vine videos covering the ceremony, here.