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Live blogging: an essential skill for modern journalists

November 13, 2015

People expect to be able to follow major events as they happen whether that be breaking news stories, Test Matches or industry conferences. This means that live blogging is now an essential skill for the modern journalist.

Live blogging: easier than you think

Live blogging: easier than you think

It should be almost instinctive for a good news journalist but it is surprising how many find it challenging or dismiss it. Some are fearful of the technology, others think that it gets in the way of ‘real’ reporting while for others it is probably just too much effort. Such flimsy excuses shouldn’t be accepted by editors or publishers. Live blogging from events should be a standard component of the content on any new-driven website, even for specialist B2B markets.

It isn’t difficult.

You can start with a simple, free platform like Twitter and create a feed from an event using a hashtag so everyone can find it easily and also so you can curate it afterwards. Two of the biggest objections I come across to live blogging are easily overcome this way.

The first is that it gets in the way of taking notes so you can write a proper report later. My answer to that is simple: use Twitter as your note book. Capture the key quotes you want to use and share them with everyone else. If there are several people using Twitter at an event you’ll even be able to check across to their Twitter feeds to see what caught their attention, helping you to fine tune the story for your readers.

Curate your content

The second objection is that it is a lot of effort for something that is so transient. That’s an easy one to overcome. Use a tool like Storify to curate all the relevant social media content and create a permanent record of the event so the reader who missed out live can catch up on everything as it happened at their convenience. Here’s an example of one I created from an event yesterday – IFAA Educational Conference. There weren’t any other people Tweeting from the event which was disappointing but I have pulled in a few comments to add other voices. Had there been content on Facebook, Google+ and other platforms this could have been added too using Storify.

Twitter can be limited so you can take your live blogging to another level using tools such as ScribbleLive. This enables you to add longer content, breaking away from Twitter’s 140 character limit, as well as pulling in comments from social media, more pictures and multi-media content. It is easy to use and creates a deeper experience, especially if you want engagement with an audience as it allows commenting. I covered a whole day virtual event for Insurance Age recently using Scribble, mixing my own content with Tweets from various people watching the event.

People expect immediacy nowadays: publishers and event organisers need to respond to that.

• If you want someone to live blog your event or come in and train people how to do it themselves then contact me on 01277 221445 or

• See other Training courses run by David Worsfold

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