Jorge Ramos: In Iowa, Fusion’s Coverage ‘Broke All the Rules’

By Mark Joyella 

Fusion host Jorge Ramos was in Iowa covering the first voting of the 2016 election season, but he didn’t appear on Fusion or Univision. He didn’t even have a camera crew. “No cameras, no satellites, no set, no Diva lights, no TelePrompter,” Ramos writes in Time. “It was just Fusion’s journalist Nando Vila, The Root’s Dr. Jason Johnson and me talking to the voters and being a witness to the basics of democracy. Only on Facebook.”

Ramos says “we broke all the rules” in deciding to cover the story with a cell phone and Facebook:

Facebook has a formidable system that allows you to broadcast live, anywhere in the world, for up to 90 minutes. You can do it, too. Imagine a one-way FaceTime with thousands of people. This state-of-the-art technology allows any citizen to become a journalist and any journalist to challenge the establishment media. As it normally happens with a cellphone in a crowded place, we lost our signal a couple of times and the camera shots were raw and amateurish at best. But it provided the audience something that is craving for: authenticity. It was the closest thing to being there.

The numbers were amazing. Facebook reported that up to 2.6 million people viewed part of our election coverage through different platforms.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 6.20.44 PMIn fact, one of Ramos’ Facebook videos has more than 3 million views–and 27,000 comments. All without lighting (photo, left), on-screen graphics or jazzy election wipes.

Ramos, who concedes there’s plenty of confusion in moving from the old-school ways of TV news to doing political coverage with a stick mic and a cell phone (the Fusion mic flag was arguably the same size or larger than the phone), but he says he believes it’s essential to be experimenting now. “As a journalist—-I suppose some people might even call me a news veteran—-I want to survive this new television revolution, and the only way to do it is following the audience where they are.”

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