Experiments with Truth: Analysis

Is livestreaming the future of activism?

Woods was inspired to start live=streaming by firsthand experience with the limits of the mainstream television news networks. He tells an origin story that begins with his disenchantment in 2011, while working as a producer in Atlanta for Nancy Grace’s HLN show. The show was filmed in CNN’s headquarters, where he could peek into the control room and watch producers stitch together broadcasts from dozens of camera feeds displayed on a bank of monitors. He watched CNN’s coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests as it was made and was appalled by what he perceived as an obvious whitewashing playing out before his eyes. “You could see in one monitor the police would be violently arresting somebody, and instead they’d go to another monitor and there would be Bob. And Bob would be three blocks away, and there’d be like ten hippies behind him, and he’d be like, ‘Nothing happening here, Steve, back to you!’” Woods soon visited the encampment of Occupy Atlanta, told them he worked in television, and asked how he could help get the word out.

Since then, livestreaming has come into its own as a raw alternative to cable news’ slick packaging and personality-driven coverage. The unrest in Ferguson was the medium’s watershed moment — at its height, more than a half-dozen dedicated streamers tracked the protests, including both independent activists and corporate feeds from Vice and Fusion. Live-streams from the Ferguson protests on a single service — Livestream.com — attracted 1.5 million views the day of the grand jury decision that let police officer Darren Wilson off the hook without an indictment.

More Follow External Link to Adrian Chen, New York Magazine