Reporting From North Korea by Periscope

The New York Times Lens section, which reports on photography and visual journalism has published an account of a recent trip to North Korea by photographer David Guttenfelder. The six day commision was to follow peace activists as they symbolically crossed the demilitarized zone from North to South Korea calling for an end to hostilities between the two countries. A full photo interactive of Guttenfelders trip is published here and shows a fascinating insight of regular life behind the iron curtain.

Surprisingly, Guttenfelder was permitted to access his social media accounts, and while he was there, used Periscope to stream footage of everyday scenes; the view from his hotel room window across Pyongyang, rural scenery passed through by car.

‘Firing up his Periscope app, Mr. Guttenfelder pointed his iPhone outside his hotel window and began to stream live video. Soon, he was being peppered with questions from online viewers: What was it like? What did he eat? How was it working there? That intense curiosity — not to mention engagement — was similar to when he had posted images to Instagram, not only during his recent visit, but also dating back to his tenure as The Associated Press’s chief Asia photographer’.

Team Periscope are keen to push this intriguing vision of their tool as a window onto the world and their new update makes this even more possible as they introduce a global map view. By tapping on the global section, users can now search a global map for live streaming and the most recent broadcasts from around the world.

‘When we started building Periscope, our first idea revolved around a map. We wanted to be able to see anywhere in the world, but questioned whether we would have enough broadcasts for a map to be compelling. “What are the odds that anyone would even be live?” we asked ourselves. So we shelved the map, and promised to revisit the idea when it made more sense. We could never have predicted the volume of broadcasts happening across the world. We believe the incredible Periscope community has now made that original vision possible, which inspired us to release today’s iOS update’.

Despite it’s inability to provide slick broadcast quality footage, Periscope’s global success seems is allowing it to evolve and grow in interesting ways. As a tool for professional journalists and interested bystanders it appears to be living up to the promise of the initial excitement and buzz around its launch.