The Stream

The Stream hosted its first open news meeting via a Google+ Hangout yesterday

Al Jazeera programme The Stream has opened an editorial meeting to its audience by holding it via a Google+ Hangout On Air, which enables anyone to follow the conversation.

The Stream is using publicly available video conversations to share the topics of the stories they are working on and gather ideas. In another example of audience editorial participation, the Guardian began publishing its daily newslist in October, inviting reaction and input from its readers.

The Stream, which runs on Al Jazeera English four days a week, has used its strong social media community to shape and set the news agenda since the show's launch last year. Indeed the Webby Award-winning programme describes itself as "a social media community with a daily TV show".

In its first open news meeting via Google+ Hangout Malika Bilal, a co-host of the programme, invited those taking part in the video conversation to pitch their ideas of what should be included by The Stream in its web coverage.

The show is currently off-air as it is working on a re-launch but continues to cover stories which have "a unique social media angle" on its website. It does this by using Storify to curate tweets, Facebook posts, videos and more.

In addition to show producers, other contributors taking part in the Google+ video hangout yesterday included journalists, bloggers and key members of its social media community from across the world, including from Malaysia, Uganda and Brazil.

Daniel Ming, assistant producer on The Stream, shared the stories the web team was working on and talked through the angles being taken.

"Every morning we go around the team and everyone pitches a story and then we decide whether or not we are going cover it based on who else has covered it," he said.

Ming then invited the hangout participants to pitch ideas from their part of the world and they made suggestions guiding The Stream's team through hashtags and angles.

The Stream has built up more than 75,000 Google+ followers and also uses the video hangout function for on air video interviews, adding comment from voices across the world.

For more on The Stream see this feature marking the show's first anniversary.

Update 4.15pm: Daniel Ming has told that Google+ Hangouts are to become a regular way of gathering feedback and ideas – and that the team is already working on two of the stories suggested yesterday.

Ming said: "Our online community has always been an integral part of our editorial process through their tweets, Facebook and Google+ comments, but now we’re planning to make these video chats a regular occurrence with regionally and topically-focused meetings.
"I was very pleased with how yesterday’s meeting went. We had a few technical problems, which is to be expected when dealing with internet connections across five continents, but in the end we were able to hear and respond to most participants’ suggestions.

"Their pitches will definitely inform our programme. Just to give a couple of examples, our team is now looking into two of the stories that were suggested yesterday: digital sex-trafficking around the world and Thailand’s reconciliation bill."

You can see the video of the hangout here.

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