Via The Guardian: Vine shifts from comedy clips to a valid journalistic tool.Excerpt:
Just before Channel 4 News’s chief correspondent Alex Thomson set off on a reporting assignment to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone earlier this month, one of the show’s digital producers pulled him aside and suggested he should “do some Vines” while he was there. “I looked at him blankly,” says Thomson. “Images of vineyards floated into my head.”
Vine is a video sharing app that allows a user to film and edit six-second clips, which loop continuously, and post them online. It was founded in June 2012 and was bought by Twitter in October the same year. It now claims 100 million people are watching Vines each month.
Although it is still mainly used for visual gags and comedy – France’s Jerome Jarre, for example, has more than 7 million followers and has turned comedy “Vining” into a career – Vine is becoming an increasingly popular journalistic reporting tool.
In recent months Vines have been used to report on stories from the riots in Ferguson and the Scottish referendum to last week’s student protests in London. Video filmed in the app is low resolution and, obviously, very short, so the video file is small and can be uploaded to the internet with a relatively weak connection.
Thomson’s Vines from Sierra Leone caused a stir on Twitter. People weren’t used to seeing six-second snatches of video, usually reserved for comedy, being used to document such serious subject matter. But his use of Vines to record snapshots of the situation seemed to work – “Your coverage of the Ebola outbreak has been fantastic. I understand the situation much better because of it”, one Twitter user tweeted to Thomson.
One of Thomson’s Vines shows a man looking into the camera, which then pans around to show a woman lying on a stretcher on the ground. Thomson’s voice can be heard explaining that the man has carried his wife five miles to the hospital, only to be told they can’t take her. Another shows a scene of villagers wailing with grief: “Villagers grieve as their friend is put into the ambulance,” the voiceover says.
“Just as the tweet is the boiled-down version of the blog post, which is the boiled-down version of the essay, a Vine is the boiled-down version of a TV package, which is a boiled-down version of a documentary,” says Marc Blank-Settle, a mobile journalism and social media trainer at the BBC College of Journalism. “The tool itself is brilliantly easy to use. It’s really leveraging the power of Twitter to share news and information very quickly.”
Click through to see Thomson's Vines, and scroll down to see them come to life; click on the audio icon in the upper left corner of the image to hear the sound. I guess you can call Vines "sight bites."