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Snaps by Southwest and the new ‘news adjacency’ platform moment

Most people don’t mainline all their news from one singular source, they do not go direct to one place for everything. People pick it up in bits and threads, in some combination or adjacent to more direct channels. And historically this has always been true. Newspapers were commercially successful for so long because they bundled news with weather, coupons and comics — something ‘non-mainlining’ folks wanted. This is something I’ve been talking about at SXSW with a few of my digital journalism partners, Julia Beizer and Tiffany Campbell — we believe this is the material rise of the new “news adjacency” platform.

Everything is content and everyone is producing it on mobile, social. News publishers have never had a better opportunity to be discovered in news adjacency land! In general, users do not go to Snapchat for news. It’s a place users send photos and videos directly and/or watch their friends ‘Stories’ develop in photo statuses, flipbook-style. So now, instead of reading comics and getting a side of news, this is happening in places such as Snapchat.

The Discover platform on Snapchat is aptly named. This is a relatively new tab on the platform expressly created for publishers — a place where users who are mostly in the app to be social, can now consume news these publishers are expressly creating for the medium. Publishers and individual news contributors are also using the Snapchat Story tab to create, dare I even say, adjacency content?

The Post has been Snapping from SXSW over the last couple of days, from the main Washington Post account (on Snapchat as: ‘washingtonpost’).

Reporters on the ground are also using Snapchat Stories for more serious journalism. For example, the Post’s Wesley Lowery, who has been covering Ferguson since its unfolding last year, has been Snapping the fallout of the recent news (he’s ‘wesleylowery’ on Snapchat).

One can imagine a live story unfolding and the opportunity for a reporter and a consumer to have such an intimate and visual connection. We are just seeing the beginning of how this platform can be harnessed for journalism. It’s such a big opportunity to reach new audiences directly or as an adjacency. Either way it’s a great time to be in news, and it’s a great time to be a consumer.

Cory Haik is the Executive Producer and Senior Editor for Digital News at the Washington Post.

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