Al Jazeera’s New Show “The Stream”

The Stream sounds like an interesting experiment in television journalism and its presentation. Wish more networks or even some cable outlets here in America would take a gamble like this to adapt to the current landscape of news dissemination.

What impressed me the most was how The Stream eats its own dogfood (to use a familiar tech term). It uses social media technology to explore how that same technology is being used in the real world. The Stream actively uses content from its audience – mostly via Twitter – and encourages viewers to interact with the show, live while it’s being broadcast and also before and after on the website. “This is all about community and we really want and need you to be a part of it,” one of the presenters said at the opening of today’s show.

During the show, the presenters and panelists discussed the lead topic (in this case, gamification) as they would on any other TV current affairs show. But there were a number of useful social media touches, which augmented the show nicely. Some examples: the presenters used YouTube videos to illustrate things, they specifically invited viewers to tweet feedback to @AJStream, and they called out specific tweets from the real-time stream and included them as part of the discussion.

The show focuses on 3-4 stories per day and what will be particularly interesting to me is how they use the “social media curation service Storify – which opened up to the public today – to gather content and interact with the community.”

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