What Is Live Streaming News and How Does It Work


“Live streaming news” is a phrase you hear repeatedly that is seldom explained. What is streaming news? What is live news? Where do you find live streaming news reports and what is the difference between them and the regular news that was broadcast prior to the digital age? News reporting has morphed greatly since your parents tuned in to watch Walter Cronkite in the decades before the internet changed everything. Here is a simple description of the various ways the news is shared these days with some definitions of important terms.

Different Types of Media Stream Your News

First, the term “streaming” refers to a steady, uninterrupted flow of data over the internet. This is in contrast to large data files like movies or other files that must be downloaded. Streaming is like a radio or television broadcast in that it can be seen immediately. “Live streaming” means the report you are seeing is happening at the moment you are seeing it, that it was streamed without delay or editing. If you watch television or listen to radio over a streaming service and you have several devices tuned in to the same broadcast, sometimes there is a lag of a few seconds between when you hear something on one TV or radio and when you hear it in another room. This is a function of the streaming service and not the broadcast. Many radio stations and some of the live TV news feeds, such as MSNBC live streaming, allow you to hear continuous live streaming of their network television broadcast.

Different Journalists and Organizations Report to the Media

It is important to recognize that most of the networks which broadcast the news are getting their information from multiple sources, only a few of which work directly for them. The major news reporting networks have bureaus in different geographic, governmental and political locations. Those bureaus may have agreements with certain reporters to share new reports exclusively with them. In addition to the networks’ bureaus, there are distinct news agencies that follow and report the news from their own websites, podcasts and releases, which is then picked up by the news reporting bureaus of the major news outlets. Before the networks get the news, before their bureaus get the news, before news agencies and reporters get the news, often there are individuals who share developing stories over social media.

Reporting News is Different Than Commenting On the News

In order to understand and get the most from the news you hear, regardless of its source, it is essential to recognize the difference between news and commentary. Until the advent of CNN, the original Cable News Network, most news programming was confined to 30-minute or 60-minute segments. The advent of round-the-clock continual newscasting required the repetition of news events and a good deal of soft news, also called feature stories. Partly to give in depth explanations of the hard news they were reporting and partly to fill the gaps of time between newscasts, news networks began to utilize commentators, individuals who interpret the news of the day and share their own views about how it should be understood. The most important thing to remember about commentators is that they are not reporters. They are strictly giving their opinions.

A Different Age, But the Same Fourth Estate


In 1839, the British playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote the famous words, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Though his original reference had nothing to do with journalists, the press has demonstrated the validity of his words repeatedly in the years since. To understand the power of the press—and thus the power of reporting the news—all you need to observe is the way authoritarian leaders continually try to shut down the voices of the independent news agencies. The “Fourth Estate,” which refers to the press, is a term coined in 1787 by Englishman Edmund Burke, who saw journalists as being as important a part of society as the first three estates: nobility, commoners and clergy.