Google+ Hangout On Air Advices

Tuesday, 8 January, 2013

20120924 Sir Salman Rushdie20130104 Melissa Carlson News 4 Forum

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci (in my Quotes I Love collection)

In this article, I plan to share with you some of my less technical but hopefully more “timeless” thinking based on my experiences in using Google+ Hangout On Air (G+ HOA) and what I’ve seen other broadcasters used G+ HOA since Google launched this powerful feature in September 2011.

1) LIVE On Location

G+ HOA used on location on the streets of Montreal, Canada. Many would agree that the 2012 Quebec students lead protests, in hindsight, played an important role in bringing down the Quebec government. Former KOMU news anchor Sarah Hill helped a freelancer named Jean Francois Desmarais of Canada to bring live and unfiltered street protest images to the world.

Montreal Demonstrations – streamed LIVE Apr 28, 2012

Montreal Demonstration Attracts Thousands – streamed LIVE Apr 27, 2012

My thoughts: Breaking news, live on location reporting can now be done extremely “light weight” by anyone without affiliations with any news organization. Broadcasters used to be the only ones to have the power to decide the how, who, what, when, where, and why of live reporting. G+ HOA and other live streaming tools have now given everyone that power if they choose to exercise it.

Broadcasters now risk becoming irrelevant if they ignore the citizens’ abilities to break news using G+ HOAs and other technologies and then distribute the YouTube Live video links via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, etc.

2) LIVE One-on-One Interview

It is not easy to find an intersex individual in Calgary to interview on camera to shine light on this sensitive topic. So it was my pleasure to get to know the Netherlands based Maya Posch for some months before an an opportunity presented itself and I took the initiative to interview Maya to talk about her court case.

Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re court’s decision to change her gender to female

In the following video I had the pleasure to conduct a social media interview with Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ontario expert Jean Turner-Floyd to learn more about police use of social media.

My thoughts: Similar to old-school journalism, we have to slowly and methodically build our network of contacts and experts over months and years, and when the opportunities present themselves, G+ HOA turn out to be great too to broadcast and capture these insightful interviews. I used the G+ community to help me to gather the needed information in a prompt and efficient manner and then used the G+ HOA to broadcast and record the interviews.

3) LIVE One-on-One Discussion

The consumption of shark fins and how the fins are “fished” (sometimes via the  brutal method of shark finning) have become a global issue in recent years. Highlighted by a recent series of photos and shocking AFP video “Outrage over Hong Kong’s ‘shark fin rooftop'”. Last Friday (Jan 4th, 2013), I took the initiative to arrange a live discussion with Calgary anti-shark fin ban group spokesman Richard Poon. I wore two hats in the discussion, on top of trying hard to be a fair an independent reporter and allowing Mr. Poon to present his points, I also spoke as a Chinese Calgarian that is distressed by my fellow Calgarians’ anti-shark-fin-ban actions.

My thoughts: First of all, old school journalism (connection & persistent) got me to take initiative to arrange a discussion with Mr. Poon. And instead of a private discussion or interview over the phone, I got Mr. Poon to agree to discuss with me LIVE in a public G+ HOA as I promised an uncut video of the full chat. The discussion can then become part of an informed discussion for the public to fact check and better understand the issues.

4) The “60 Minutes” of Google+ Hangout On Air

Before Don Hewitt created 60 Minutes in 1968, a show that “pioneered many of the most important investigative journalism procedures and techniques“, who would have thought such a show is possible, will be watched, and even made good money for the creator and broadcaster all at the same time??!! Note that I’m using “60 Minutes” as an example of something brand new and unseen before instead of its pioneering role in investigative journalism.

It is way too early to say what “shows” can become the “60 Minutes” of this Google+ Hangout On Air space yet but I have a few personal favourites. Maria Quiban‘s Fox LA G+ HOA and Melissa Carlson‘s KRNV News 4 Forum are two very engaging HOA shows that I am a frequent participant because I’ve a great time participating and watching. Instead of trying to explain in words, allow me to show.

4A) Here are three sample clips from Maria‘s Fox LA G+ HOA.

MyFOXLA Google+ Hangout: Howie Mandel Talks Mobbed

Howie Mandel Interrupts Fox 11 Reporter Live During Newscast

Salman Rushdie @MyFoxLA w/Maria Quiban

Melissa Carlson’s Jan 7th, 2013 News 4 Forum where the topic is about Connecticut town holding a drive to collect and burn violent video games. We were asked: “Does it remind you of the old book burnings? Do you have a problem with it?

4B) Here are three sample clips from Melissa‘s KRNV News 4 Forum

Melissa Carlson’s Jan 4th, 2013 News 4 Forum where the two topics were discussed.

NEWS 4 FORUM TOPIC: I’d love to hear what you have to sat about this story! Managers reaction = not fabulous.. Officers reaction? UPDATE: today officers eat for free

NEWS 4 FORUM TOPIC: Good lesson or Bad parenting? Are we raising a YouTube generation?

5) Concluding Thoughts

I think we are still at the dawn of Google+ Hangout On Air and the likes of  “60 Minutes” of G+ HOA has not been discovered by the general public yet. But that time will come.

The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

I consider myself one of the lucky ones who has a glimpse of the future by “chance”. Lets revisit the quote I started this post with.

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

My Advice: Go apply it! What are you waiting? Go do it!


Special Thanks: I haven’t gone through formal j-school training so I feel uneasy in giving advices to professional/aspiring journalists. But when my talented and charming friend Marissa Schwartz, producer at KRNV News 4 (NBC) who is finishing up her Masters at Reynolds School of Journalism, asked me to share some Google+ Hangout On Air tips/advices for her Masters project, I have no choice and gladly said yes. I just hope you are not harmed by my ramblings or as my friend put it, “my brand of poison“.

Insights from Montreal Student Protest Friday LIVE broadcast using Google+ Hangout On Air – Sarah Hill interview

Saturday, 28 April, 2012

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 02

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 01

This afternoon I interviewed +Sarah Hill to talk about her amazing coverage of Montreal student demonstration captured and broadcasted LIVE last night (Friday Apr 27) with video from +Jean Francois Desmarais‘s camera on the ground, and Sarah broadcasting LIVE from her kitchen in Columbia, MO in the US using Google Plus On Air Hangout technology!

The following is a partial list of questions I asked Sarah Hill in the interview talking about the LIVE broadcast last night from her perspective.

How did the LIVE broadcast come about? How did Sarah know Jean Francois (i.e. the vetting)? What other uses of the G+ Hangout On Air technology can already be used for today? Was there any Hangout On Air technical problems during the broadcast?

I was also able to talk to Jean Francois via G+ message and he was kind to share the setup he used last night and some technical issues he had. Here is my summary of his main setup.

– An old dual core portable computer with 4GB of RAM and a 1394 Firewire port (Firewire 400)

– a Sony HVR camera that was hooked up to the computer with a 1394 wire

– 4G key USB stick for video/data transmission

– Note: Here is a picture of Jean Francois’ gear for Sat night (Apr 28).

According to Jean Francois, the above setup worked well until he had to run after the demonstration. He ended up walking 3-5 km in total and ran into some technical issues. I’ve listed the issues here in Jean Francois’ words. My hope is by sharing the issues, others can have a better LIVE reporting experiences.

“1- [As there wasn’t time to organize and tape everything together] The wires kept unhooking themselves
2- The portable kept shutting down as soon as I closed the lid – even if we went in the control panel and set the parameters so it doesn’t turn off.
3- When there is a large crowd sometimes getting the connection is very difficult. I lost a good 45 min trying to [regain connection].
4- The battery of the portable was a major issue. We could have had a power pack but we needed to convert the current, so we needed a “transfo”- It was already too heavy so that option was out of the question.
5- If I had more time I would have loved to be able to have somebody with a hand-held mic but we had an issue bringing the sound from the cam and into the mic headset. I need to do more R&D on this.
6- Also, as I learned from past experience, good streaming means a lot of light. So the more light you have the better the quality of the image will be. [Kempton: I suggest a battery powered LED light panel]
7- And there is a need for a feature to know if you are still on air. I kept asking Sarah if I was still on air because I was not able to see the computer.”

By the way, Sarah plans to do a LIVE hangout tonight (Sat Apr 28) at 10pm EST to talk about the issues re the student demonstrations. If you live in Montreal or in Quebec, watch out for Sarah’s Hangout or invite.

Again, special thanks to Sarah and JeanJean Francois for the amazing and ground breaking coverage last night!

Note: Apologies for the audio echo in my questions. Fortunately, the echo doesn’t affect Sarah’s answers.

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 03

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 04

Here is the video captured and broadcasted LIVE last night (Friday Apr 27)

Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:12 MST UpdateMontreal Demonstrations on the night of Apr 28, 2012

Remembering fourteen women massacred in Montreal in 1989

Monday, 7 December, 2009

CBC report (with two videos “Montreal Massacre memorial” and “On the killer’s list“)

“Ceremonies were held in Montreal and across the country Sunday to mark the 20th anniversary of Canada’s worst mass shooting.

Fourteen women died when shooter Marc Lépine staged his attack at Montreal’s École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989.”

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