Members of the Baltimore Police Department’s media relations team recently provided an inside look at how they use live-streaming video to share important messages and share the human side of the eighth-largest municipal police force in the U.S. The presentation was part of the Public Relations Society of America’s Maryland Chapter monthly professional development series.

A social media early adopter with long-active Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter accounts, the BPD was among the first organizations in the U.S. to use Periscope as well as Facebook Live to share community relations events and press conferences in real time.

T.J. Smith, director of the BPD’s Media Relations Section, told PRSA attendees that the department’s uses of live-streaming include: breaking news; press conferences; PSAs; “The Good Stuff” and behind-the-scenes views of the police department in action. He said one goal for live-streaming is transparency and to “humanize” the BPD, staffed by nearly 4,000 civilian and sworn personnel.

A benefit for the media: BPD’s use of Periscope and Facebook Live enabled reporters to live tweet and compile information for stories without being present at the scene of the activity.

Smith said thanks to social media, BPD receives far fewer telephone calls and his spokespeople no longer have to repeat messages and duplicate interviews. Another benefit is how it “keeps the media honest,” Smith said. The public can see what the media “edits out” of a story and the chance of being misquoted is reduced as entire interviews and press events are aired live.

Smith, pictured, right, was introduced by PRSA Maryland President Dan Dunne, APR, left, Director of Communications, Erickson Living. Also presenting: police spokesmen Lt. Jarron Jackson and Detective Jeremy Silbert.

Photo: PRSA Maryland

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  1. The Rise of Live Streaming Video

    […] Baltimore Police Department:  Lt. T.J. Smith, director of the BPD’s Media Relations Section explained that the department uses live-streaming for breaking news, press conferences, PSAs and behind the scenes views of the police department in action to create transparency and to “humanize” the organization. The use of live streaming has enabled reporters to live tweet and compile information for stories without being present at the scene of the activity. […]

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