The 2016 Election Will Be Live-Streamed: 'We're All C-SPAN Now'

"[Meerkat and Periscope] are achieving the dream of consumers being able to watch live political events themselves without delay or commentary,” said Mark Halperin, the managing editor of Bloomberg Politics. “We are all C-SPAN now.” Welcome to the new frontier of campaign journalism, a never-ceasing stream of political events that anyone can broadcast or access with nothing but a smartphone.

Just how much value live video adds to the already frenzied political process is anyone's guess. As with past technological shifts in political reporting, there's a mix of excitement and anxiety. Journalists’ obsession with the second-by-second Twitter conversation in 2012 played into some of the worst instincts of pack journalism, with fairly mundane moments blown up into mini-scandals and "gaffes." So there’s an understandable fear that the ability to easily broadcast live all day in 2016 will only add to the noise level, with lots more content, but not necessarily context. But Twitter has also had a democratizing effect, allowing the public into the campaign trail in new ways and giving journalists a platform to immediately offer information, analysis and snark outside the traditional structures of the outlets employing them. The question now facing news organizations is whether they can incorporate live video in a way that distinctly enhances coverage, or whether they will end up offering viewers and voters more distractions.


The 2016 Election Will Be Live-Streamed: 'We're All C-SPAN Now'