The Rise Of Snapchat Journalism

There's a blooming in news outlets all over the world, reaching out to younger generations with the news on small screen formats. This new trend emerged in Norway when the media house Verdens Gang (VG) started experimenting with Snapchat as a news platform in January 2017.

Skjermbilde VG

Main content

Why did VG expand their news to Snapchat, and what kind of a journalistic product are we seeing? These were the questions my study attempted to answer by doing qualitative interviews with journalists and editors in VG, as well as a qualitative content analysis based on news content data. The study indicated that Norway´s largest news website VG invested in this social media platform for three reasons: First, VG aimed to win credibility and trust among the younger generations. The media actor wanted these target groups to look at VG as the main resource for news. Second, on their way to this first goal, VG also hoped to get insight into young people's interests and news habits, as well as becoming experts in adapting news content to the mobile format. Third, VG used Snapchat as a business model to increase traffic to other platforms and use ads as a source of income. The findings also point to a fourth and more underlying reason - competition. There is, for obvious reasons, a hard competition going on to be first and best in class in using new technologies while reaching out to new target groups.

New definitions

Journalism on Snapchat turned out to be a completely new form of news dissemination. The news content is clearly adapted to younger generations and consists of a new visual narrative style. The definition that emerged during the study points to Snapchat-journalism as the coupling of simple news visualization, journalistic compression, musical-news distribution and interactive news consumption. Snapchat-journalism makes evident the importance for news outlets to reach out to all target groups, as well as staying up-to-date with the latest in a world where new technology is constantly changing how we consume the news.

Valuable time in ViSmedia

I wrote this master’s thesis as a part of the ViSmedia project. It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of this research group. The group was always there to give relevant feedback and be supportive. It felt like having several supervisors at the same time. ViSmedia was important for the development of my study, and also provided me with work opportunities and has been important in my current job within research and communication.

Read Vedå´s thesis here (in Norwegian).