Live Blogging A Plus For Journalists

Two Poynter posts today extol the virtues of live blogging for journalists. In Live Blogging: How It Makes Us Better Journalists, Associated Press reporter Ben Walker relates his experiences live blogging as a sports reporter. He says, “Your powers of observation are doubled and tripled when you live blog.”

His points are echoed by another sports reporter, Greg Auman. Auman outlines his process:

I find that live blogging keeps you more aware of the stories developing during a game. You’re constantly having to come up with complete thoughts and analysis about an incomplete game, which isn’t always easy. I’ll typically write a game story and notebook for my newspaper from a game, and the live blog helps with both.

Charles Apple, graphic artist at The Virginian-Pilot, believes that “[b]logging is reporting. And reporting is a skill, just like designing a page or shooting free throws…The more of it you do — and the more of it you do under pressure — the better you’ll get at it, the faster you’ll become and the less likely you’ll get rattled on deadline.”

Amy Gahran, editor of E-Media Tidbits, uses a special Twitter account (AmyLive) to “highlight key points from the conferences she attends.”

Most of the reporters noted that live blogging detracts from the conference or sporting event experience. Apple: “Blogging is a lot of hard work. You’re typing narrative, uploading photos, doing some light coding… It’s difficult to do all this and a.) remain engaged in whatever session is going on, and b.) without distracting anyone sitting near you.”

Another tool: CoverItLive is used by Newsweek writers covering entertainment and politics as well as The Stranger (Seattle), the Des Moines Register, the Austin American-Statesman, The Salt Lake Tribune,, techPresident and BraveNew Films.

CoverItLive, launched late last year, is like IM on steroids. The CoverItLive window sits inside your blog and looks and acts like IM. You (the author) can approve comments before they appear to everyone; you can embed media, and you can hang a “be right back” virtual sign when you need a break. And there’s an instant poll feature. However, unlike most blog posts, the narrative appears in chronological order.

You’ll need to be able to insert HTML into your blog in order to use the service, as the client sits inside a frameset. Demos show Typepad being used; don’t know about WordPress or Blogger.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

2 replies on “Live Blogging A Plus For Journalists”

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Another live blogging tip is to make an aggregation of the backchannels using RSS and a tool such as xfruits (quick and easy) or Yahoo Pipes (extremely flexible). The aggregation can include:

* technorati, icerocket and google blog search results for the URL of the conference website
* technorati, icerocket and google blog search results on the name of the conference
* flickr photos tagged with the conference name
* youtube videos tagged with conference name
* tweetscan results

Once you’ve got the aggregation, feed the RSS through feedburner and use it’s widget maker so that people can put the aggregation on their own blog. [Then add this url to the search results in the feed – so that you start to pull in all their posts.]

Of course, it helps to have set this all up before the conference starts, otherwise you’ll miss half the morning sessions.


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