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April 28, 2021

Building New Real-Time News Products

Building New Real-Time News Products

by Gregory Bruno |  April 28, 2020

Since launching its Covid-19 Live Blog early last year, NTB, Norway’s leading news agency, has continued to integrate the live blogging platform into its editorial workflow.  

New Live Blogs have included a December 2020 feed to report on the aftermath of a massive landslide near Oslo, and another in January to report on the riots at the US capital.

For editors in Oslo, this has enabled more immersive storytelling, bringing clients and their readers richer content in a more efficient, streamlined process. 

“In the last year we’ve been a lot more focused on news bulletins and live coverage,” says NTB technology and development editor Magnus Aabech, who is spearheading the agency’s live blogging strategy. “The format itself has become really important for NTB based on client feedback. And, with the Superdesk-Live Blog integration that we launched in early 2020, we can give clients what they want in an easy-to-digest and publish format.”

Replicating Benefits: Building New Products and Services

Because the integration with Live Blog is CMS-agnostic – it can be configured with any content management system – news producers of any size can use the Live Blog platform in much the same way as NTB. For instance, if a news agency or other content creator was covering their region’s elections, stories from their CMS could be published to their Live Blog via an API, and this content could then be syndicated to subscribers as an extra service. 

This is exactly what the NTB Sports Desk is doing. During the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships this winter, an NTB reporter worked the event live, providing readers with real-time coverage of the races and events. Editors, meanwhile, were able to feed the Live Blog with articles and features sent directly from the CMS. And because Live Blog enables multiple users to work together on a single blog, NTB’s photographers were able to file their pictures directly to the Live Blog, providing on-the-ground insights that not even the television networks could manage. 

Together, this collection of live updates, fresh photos, and in-depth reporting gave readers comprehensive coverage of one of skiing’s most important annual events. It also became another product NTB offers its customers.

“The Live Blog integration with our CMS has given us a new area of publishing capability,” says Aabech. “Live Blog is customisable and can do a lot of the work for us. Even internally, it’s been a great way to get people to think more visually about the content we distribute.”

NTB’s Live Blog Journey

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Norway, NTB turned to Live Blog as a means to distribute content quickly and in a more targeted fashion. As Norway’s biggest news agency, NTB’s bread and butter is short wire reports and breaking news, content that was being produced at a rapid clip during the height of the outbreak. But most of NTB’s clients – newspapers, news websites, and other traditional publishers – could only make use of a fraction of the agency’s output. There were simply too many stories on the wire for a news publisher to slot into their website in real-time.

To solve this challenge, NTB technologists, working with Sourcefabric, developed a simple configuration to connect Superdesk, the newsroom’s CMS, with Live Blog, our professional live blogging platform. The goal was to make it easy for NTB’s content users to integrate curated blog feeds into their own website, eliminating the need to trawl the NTB wire and update content throughout the day. Clients could either embed the NTB Live Blog feed directly into their website, or, by using an API, adjust the look and feel of the NTB Live Blog to match their own visual brand.

“Live Blog has allowed us to provide our clients and subscribers with richer content, mixing photos, graphics, and visually driven elements in a single feed,” says Aabech. “It’s really been a great way to tailor content to our clients’ needs, and to find new ways to deliver our journalism.”

To do more with less, news organisations need tools that increase efficiencies and streamline content output. Tools like Live Blog can help.

Looking for a better live blogging solution? Try out Live Blog from Sourcefabric for seven days free, no strings attached. Get your trial version here.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

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November 25, 2020

Using A Live Blog for Black Friday Deals

Using Live Blog for Black Friday Deals

Using Live Blog for Black Friday Deals

by The Live Blog Team |  November 25, 2020

Once Black Friday was only part of the holiday shopping season for retailers. Today it triggers major consumer activity for anyone in the content business: not only when readers make purchases, but also for reading reviews and checking out what the trends and must-have items are for the season. That’s why Black Friday can be a big opportunity for publishers too.

Brands, retailers and news media all benefit from the extra attention that consumers pay to their favourite websites on the last Friday in November in search of deals on the stuff they want to get or gift. Typically those must-have items span a range of categories, from electronics and household goods to makeup and fashion, each offered by a variety of retailers or websites.

Using a live blogging platform as a real-time deal ticker, publishers can present all of the latest promotions in one place. Here are some examples from around the web:

  1. Becleverwithyourcash.com
  2. Sonicstate.com
  3. Nettavisen.no
Netavisen Black Friday Live Blog

Netavisen’s Black Friday Live Blog

And this year, with brick-and-mortar stores closed or at limited capacity, customers will be doing most of their holiday shopping online. Publishers can benefit from this trend by inking an affiliate or referral agreement with retailers.   

How a Black Friday live blog works  

A Black Friday live blog is one part editorial curation and one part affiliate marketing.  

Publishers can either earn a commission when readers go on to visit a retailer’s storefront from the deals mentioned on the live blog, or sell paid placements directly. Another benefit to publishers’ websites is the increase in traffic. One publisher told us that their Black Friday Live Blog, and the live video that goes with it, boosts traffic by 43% on Black Friday over their daily average of 700,000 daily readers.  

Readers not only see it as a service, but also a fun read they enjoy spending time on. In particular, they may appreciate the personal touch added by a blog’s editors.

Live blogging special deals year round

The official week of Black Friday runs from the last Monday of November to the first Monday of December. However, savvy editors start adding the pre-holiday promotions as early as late September for those deal-hunters who never stop searching for the best bargain.

How can Live Blog boost your content monetisation strategy? Get in touch with us for a personal consultation.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

October 30, 2020

Using Live Blog to Cover the 2020 US Elections

Using Live Blog to Cover the 2020 US Elections

by The Live Blog Team |  November 2, 2020

This year we’ve seen new and innovative uses of our live blogging platform Live Blog for live, breaking news from all of our clients. Many have used it for real-time blogging to cover the COVID-19 pandemic as it has unfolded locally and internationally. Some have used it to document key events in politics. Now both of those use cases are converging in the upcoming US election, which will hinge in large part on the current president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. US politics are followed closely in Europe because of American influence in foreign policy, economics and other domains.

Below is a gallery of some of our German clients’ Live Blog coverage:

DPA – Deutsche Presse-Agentur 

Covering elections is one of the most common use cases for Live Blog thanks to the ability to create an instant timeline with real-time updates.

dpa US elections

Die Zeit 

Live Blog offers a form of visual storytelling where infographics, photos, videos and charts blend seamlessly together.

Zeit Online US elections

Handelsblatt

Handelsblatt Live Blogging the US elections  

If you are not yet a Live Blog user and you’re looking for live blogging software to cover real-time news, you can try Live Blog for free here, no strings attached.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

June 15, 2020

How to publish Tweets to your Live Blog with just one click

How to publish Tweets to your Live Blog with just one click

by Gregory Bruno |  June 15, 2020

With social media the preferred outlet for newsmakers to break news, journalists today need easy ways to share these digital morsels of information with their audiences. One common tactic – trawling Twitter feeds, copying embed codes, and pasting this data into a news organisation’s website or blog – is time-consuming and inefficient.

With Live Blog, this process can be automated. Here’s how:

If you don’t have a Live Blog account, you’ll need one to get started. Visit Liveblog.pro to sign up for your free seven-day trial. 

Now that you have a Live Blog instance, the first step is to create an account at Integromat, a free service that connects apps and automates workflows. 

Once you’ve created an account, log into Integromat and follow the steps below. Parts I and II of this setup will configure Integromat to connect Twitter with your Live Blog account so that you can easily monitor someone’s Twitter activity from within the Live Blog dashboard. Part III will show you how to publish tweets to your Live Blog timeline.

Setup Part I

  1. Click the “Create a New Scenario” button in the top right corner of Integromat.com. This will bring you to a page where you can set up your first module. To do that, type “Twitter” in the search bar. Once you’ve selected Twitter, hit “Continue.” 
  2. On the next screen you’ll see the dashboard for the scenario you’re going to create. Click on the question mark (“?”) and select, “Watch Tweets.”
  3. Now you need to permit your Twitter module to watch tweets using your newsroom’s Twitter account. Do this by adding a connection, naming it, and then by clicking “Authorise.”
  4. We want to configure Integromat to watch “Someone Else’s Tweets;” pull the dropdown menu to do that.
  5. Now, enter the Twitter handle, or “Screen Name,” minus the @ symbol, of the account you want to ingest into Live Blog. Select “Return Full Text of Tweets,” and then choose how many tweets you want Integromat to ingest at a time. You can choose any number you want.
  6. Finally, you need to tell Integromat when to start ingesting tweets. You can choose any date in the past or from now on.

Setup Part II

With your Twitter module established, the second step is to configure Integromat to connect this module to your Live Blog account. To do that, follow these steps: 

  1. Click on the half-bubble to the right of the newly-created Twitter module, select the “+” button, and type “Live Blog.” 
  2. If you don’t see Live Blog as an option, click on this link, add the scenario to your account, refresh the page, and then try again. 
  3. Once you’ve selected Live Blog, you’ll be prompted with a window of choices; select “Create a Contribution.” 
  4. Next, you’ll be asked to set up a connection between your Live Blog module in Integromat, and your Live Blog account. To do that, click the “Add” button, create a connection name – it can be anything – then add the URL for your blog. Importantly, you must add “-api” to make the URL work. [Example: https://demoapi.liveblog.pro]. This tells Live Blog that a third-party app is trying to connect.
  5. Enter your username and password.
  6. If your Live Blog instance has more than one blog associated with it, the next window will prompt you to choose a specific blog to connect to. 
  7. You can ignore the “Select Tag” box, but below that you must enter a value for “Select Post Structure.” Pull that dropdown window and select “Twitter Post.” Here, you will once again need to input the “Screen Name” of the Twitter account that you are following.
  8. Finally, in the “Tweet ID” box, you need to provide the identification that we are getting from the blue module. Click the blue “Tweet ID” box, and the field will auto populate. You can ignore the “Autopublish” box.
  9. Click “OK.”
  10. Now, establish the intervals that Integromat will pull content from the Twitter account you’re watching. Set that by clicking the “Clock” icon.
  11. Once you’ve established the connection in Integromat, click “Run Once” to start feeding tweets into your Live Blog from the selected Twitter account. 
  12. Finally, be sure to click “Save.” If you want to watch another Twitter account in your Live Blog editor window, you’ll need to create another scenario by repeating Parts I and II.

Setup Part III

Now, let’s see what all of this looks like in Live Blog.

On the left side of your Live Blog editing panel, click the “Contributions” button. Inside this pane is where all of the tweets fetched from the account or accounts that you are watching will appear. When you want to publish a tweet to your blog, simply push this “Publish” button, and it’s done. If  you want to remove a tweet to keep this pane organised, click “Remove.” 

Once you publish, you can see what it looks like by clicking “Live” next to “Timeline” at the top of your editing window.  

And that’s it. With this integration, you’ll never again need to switch between windows or copy embed codes to share a newsmaker’s tweets with your audience. Everything you need to post quickly is now right in the editing screen of your Live Blog.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

May 26, 2020

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

by Todd Jatras |  May 26, 2020

Live blogs are a key editorial format used in newsrooms around the world to provide continuous, real-time coverage of important events as they happen.

Whether it’s scheduled events such as sports matches, elections, product launches and cultural events, or unpredictable occurrences such as severe weather and disasters, terror attacks and political unrest, a live blog’s curated timeline format allows news organisations to quickly break a story, then provide frequent updates after it’s been published and syndicated.

This go-to form of storytelling has seen an unprecedented surge in usage this year as the coronavirus pandemic emerged, and news sites scrambled to keep up with the rapidly evolving crisis. The advantage of using a live blog to cover such an important story is that it provides a dynamic, centralised repository where writers and editors can collaborate on quick-fire updates while effortlessly incorporating rich multimedia formats and posts from all the social media platforms. Readers also prize the format as they know exactly where to return to get the latest updates.

In this post we discuss a variety of live blogging use cases separated out by the most popular categories or story types. We’re including examples from our own customers as well as other live blog examples from around the web that best illustrate the potential of the format.

Elections and Politics

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Live Blog is the perfect journalistic tool for covering elections with up-to-the-minute updates as they come in.

  • See how Passauer Neue Presse used our live blogging platform to cover the spring municipal election in Bavaria;
  • Leading German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) covered the U.S. presidential election primary known as Super Tuesday.
  • Norwegian online news site Nettavisen used it to report City Council meetings in Oslo, thus boosting reader engagement while increasing local government transparency.

Politics isn’t limited to elections and legislative debates, however. Court cases and judicial proceedings also lend themselves to live blogging. This live blog of orders and opinions issued by the United States Supreme Court shows how a curated timeline of official updates from the bench, interspersed with expert commentary, can provide insight into an otherwise obscure arm of government.

For more tips, see this guide to optimising elections coverage, which shows you how to use custom post types, image slideshows and advanced features for charting and live poll reporting.

Sports 

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Sporting events are particularly well-suited to live blogging because of the timed-play nature of most popular games, like football. Avid fans often will keep a live blog open while watching a game on television, looking to the blog repeatedly in second-screen mode throughout an event for the latest replays, statistics and play-by-play commentary from both experts and fans.

For some examples of how top news agencies as well as small media outlets are live blogging sporting events, see:

True fans are eager for as much information as they can find on their favourite teams, and players when they’re off the field. Player transfers are an example of a sporting event other than a game that lends itself to live blogging, such as this one run by The Standard in the UK. Live blogs that include custom post types for player transfers make it even easier for fans to keep track of who is headed where, and how teams are shaping up for the season ahead.   

Meanwhile, video gaming or esport events are becoming more popular, as are blogs covering them. For an example of how Live Blog was used for a global esports tournament, see dpa and Morgenpost’s team coverage of the 2018 ESLOne event in Hamburg.

Weather and Natural Disasters

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

When disasters strike, providing readers with the latest, up-to-the-minute information is crucial, and can even be life-saving. 

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, this case study outlines how German-language news outlets such as Austria Presse Agentur (APA), Zeit Online and dpa have been using our live blogging software to deliver continual updates to their readers.

Other use cases from our customers include:

Cultural Events 

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Awards ceremonies, festivals, concerts and art events are prime occasions to live blog and provide readers with a sense of being in attendance. This guide to Live Blogging a Cultural Event is a good place to start thinking about how to set your coverage apart.

Other Live Blog examples include dpa’s live blog on the 2020 Grammy music awards in Los Angeles, and Eurovision’s coverage of its 2018 Song Contest, one of the largest TV events in the world.

War and Terror Attacks

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

German news site Zeit Online used Live Blog for extensive coverage of the 2016 terror attack on Brussels and experimented with what they call a “slow blog” on the years-long reporting on the Battle of Mosul. We interviewed Sybille Klormann, lead editor for all live blogging projects, to learn about Zeit Online’s best practices for this dynamic form of real-time coverage. 

The Environment

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

As climate change drives a variety of other crises, reporting on the environment has become more urgent; many news organisations are devoting significantly more time and resources to the subject.

Ambiental Jalisco, a startup network of local news sites in Mexico focused on getting citizens involved in ecological issues in cities across the country, is using our live blogging platform to bring their news and social networks together. Read our case study on Ambiental Jalisco here.

Business

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Live blogging is a practical way to track earnings releases and product launches as well as the daily gyrations of international stock markets and individual business sectors.

DPA used Live Blog to report Apple’s 2019 Keynote, highlighting all of the company’s new product releases as they were being announced. Ars Technica has also live blogged Apple launch events.

Elsewhere, CNBC creates a new market-related live blog each day, frequently updating it and pulling together the top stories affecting U.S. stock markets

Travel and Lifestyle 

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

With so many travel and lifestyle blogs in the digital world, finding a way to differentiate your content and speak to an audience is key. One of our picks for creativity combined with authenticity is W42St, an independent lifestyle magazine that chronicles the people and businesses of NYC’s gritty Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, they were forced to suspend their print edition, and turned to Live Blog as a way of keeping their community connected.

Weird News, Photo of the Day and Other Offbeat Stories

 

Live Blog Examples: Great Use Cases for Blogging Inspiration

Finally, the live blog format offers a way for publishers to package content and earn revenue on new products; especially using recurring, daily news features so that customer news organisations can receive it via syndication and readers can easily find it with content tags.

DPA’s Top Photo of the Day is a good example of this. Also, their Weird News & Other Offbeat Stories is currently embedded in around two dozen customer websites, including Mitteldeutsche Zeitung and Radio Essen.   

Elsewhere, Reuters has a blog called Oddly Enough that collects and syndicates daily offbeat and humourous stories to their clients.

If you are not yet a Live Blog user and you’re looking for live blogging software to cover real-time news, you can try Live Blog for free here, no strings attached.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

May 5, 2020

Case Study: How an Indy NYC Print Magazine is Using Live Blog to Build a Community and Connect Readers

How W42ST is using Live Blog to connect their community during the pandemic.

CASE STUDY

W42St: How an Indy NYC Print Magazine is Using Live Blog to Build a Community and Connect Readers

by Todd Jatras | May 5, 2020

When the coronavirus pandemic abruptly forced New York City into lockdown mode in March 2020, businesses across the spectrum had to radically reduce operations and shift strategies in a bid for survival.

Live blogging turned out to be part of the solution for one independent publisher based in a historically gritty part of Manhattan. W42ST is a monthly independent lifestyle magazine that prides itself on the “fierce, pioneering, no-bullshit attitude” characteristic of the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood (the area west of Times Square-42nd Street) it covers. Founded five years ago by British transplant Phil O’Brien, a former press photographer and entrepreneur, W42ST had built up a healthy print run of 30,000 and established itself as a community-building force through a combination of social media outreach and live events.

The Challenge

By Friday the 13th of March, with most of W42ST’s advertising from area businesses such as Broadway theatres, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, bars and liquor stores having suddenly evaporated, O’Brien had to make the difficult decision to put the brakes on the print edition just as the much-anticipated annual Best Of issue was getting ready to go to press.

For a magazine whose mission is to “connect people and help them live their best New York life, in real life” the issue was not so much being able to publish in print as being able to serve readers during a time of social isolation.

O’Brien didn’t hesitate to take the digital leap

The Solution

With most businesses in the community reeling and readers stuck at home, O’Brien realised that shifting to a daily, digital publishing rhythm was the best way to keep readers connected to each other as well as informed about developments that seemed to be changing by the hour.  

Along with a new daily newsletter, Live Blog is the main element to this change of digital publishing strategy. W42ST’s new FACES section is a live blog featuring short videos sent in by readers and local business owners reporting on their lives under quarantine and the latest developments in the neighbourhood. Beyond a means of publishing survival, the FACES live blog has been a chance to expand coverage while strengthening the bonds within an already well-established community.

W42ST’s Live Blog features daily videos from neighbourhood readers and business owners.

The Results

W42ST’s FACES is an exemplar of how live blogging can be used to bring together and connect a community, even during normal times. O’Brien loves the versatility of Live Blog, especially its ability to easily ingest content from all the different social media platforms, saying:  “Live Blog is great because it’s so easy to upload a variety of YouTube and Instagram videos–and they play flawlessly within the blog”.

 The dozens of videos featured so far on FACES form a fascinating, intimate and constantly-changing portrait of a strong community coming together to cope with an unprecedented situation. They are equally informative and entertaining, and full of tips on everything from local kitchens doing deliveries to an artist giving away the masks they’ve made in exchange for fabric donations. Local business owners, even front-line medical workers, make appearances to give updates, while residents drop in to share the joys and frustrations of their day, or sing a song, show off their pets, or recite poetry.

 Looking ahead to life after the lockdown, O’Brien hopes to expand W42ST’s blogging activity beyond FACES, and has applied for grants from Google and Facebook’s local news initiatives with the hope of hiring a dedicated blog editor. About Live Blog, O’Brien adds, “You’ve built a great product”.

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

April 8, 2020

Case Study: How a global crisis inspired publishing innovation

CASE STUDY

NTB: How a global crisis inspired publishing innovation

by Gregory Bruno | April 8, 2020

To cover rapidly changing events, news organizations must be nimble. For stories like the coronavirus, which is developing faster than any story in recent memory, they also need the right tools to satisfy readers’ insatiable demand for information.

At NTB, Norway’s leading news agency, the COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity to solve a long-standing problem: how to quickly and efficiently deliver news as it happens to news publisher clients. Integrating Live Blog, our professional live-blogging software, with Superdesk, NTB’s publishing platform and open-source headless CMS, was the solution.

The Challenge

NTB technology and development editor Magnus Aabech

While NTB had been a Live Blog client for years, they stopped using it regularly in 2019 due to a number of technical hurdles. Back then, the only way to populate Live Blog was to manually move published stories from Superdesk, a labourious process that made little financial sense. Although many NTB clients had requested a streamlined way to receive bulletins, short news items, and news briefs from the agency’s wire feed, there was no incentive to develop a solution.

The coronavirus crisis changed that calculus. Seemingly overnight, NTB clients were in desperate need of concise local and international coverage, what NTB technology and development editor Magnus Aabech calls “the type of wire copy that we specialise in.”

To meet this surge in demand, NTB needed to provide clients with a curated, consistent source of news that did not require them to go searching in the “normal wire, where it’s difficult,” Aabech says. Eventually, NTB realised the optimal solution was to offer live coverage by reviving its shelved Live Blog instance. “But, we didn’t want to actually produce this content in Live Blog,” says Aabech, “because then we would have to do double the work.”

The Solution

Using a third-party tool called Integromat, Sourcefabric connected NTB’s Superdesk instance with the agency’s Live Blog feed, giving NTB a new distribution channel for its content. “Superdesk and Live Blog have their own APIs, but they don’t speak to each other directly,” says Renat Isch, Sourcefabric’s business development manager. “To address this, we created a dedicated integration module in Integromat that receives data from Superdesk with a webhook, transforms it, and then pushes it automatically to Live Blog.”

For NTB, the outcome was a highly efficient way to deliver content to clients that can be embedded directly on their own sites. The agency created two separate Live Blogs: one dedicated to the most important coronavirus stories of the day, and a second, more general news bulletin on coronavirus developments, which mirrors stories published on the agency’s news wire and is currently being used by about two dozen clients. “Live Blog in this sense works as a digital platform for us,” says Aabech. “We just offer the Live Blog embed code and clients use it as a story.” Moreover, when content in NTB’s Live Blog is updated, it is echoed on client sites because the embed code stays the same.

The Results

Since its relaunch in early 2020, NTB’s Live Blog service has been gaining in popularity. “As we’re seeing, local newspapers have a real need for national and international news at the moment,” says Aabech. “Big newspapers in Norway, as around the world, are offering real-time coverage of the COVID-19 crisis – showcasing graphics, photos, text, and bullet points in a news stream format. This is our way of being able to offer the same thing to all of our clients.”

NTB is even exploring ways to expand its offerings – from breaking news to sports. “In the past, our distribution system had limitations, but with this Superdesk-Live Blog integration, we can do it in a different way and get content to market faster and more efficiently.”

Aabech adds: “A lot of the potential of Superdesk isn’t being used by agencies or publishers; many of us are often stuck in our old production routines. To break free from that stuff we’ve got to play around, which is what we’re doing now.”

Ready to begin liveblogging?

Getting started has never been easier.

March 20, 2020

Covering the Coronavirus: Live Blog Use Cases

CASE STUDIES

Covering the Coronavirus: Live Blog Use Cases

by Gregory Bruno |  March 20, 2020

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, journalists are getting creative in their efforts to keep audiences informed. Quarantined to their own two-metre bubbles, reporters are working from home with hacked gear in make-shift studios. Data sharing partnerships are cropping up online, and in the US state of Oregon, news outlets are even dropping the pretence of competition to cross-post stories and eliminate the need to duplicate work.

Software is helping these innovations along. To cover one of the biggest news events in modern memory, newsrooms are turning to technology that is cloud based, flexible, and collaborative. Live Blog, Sourcefabric’s professional live blogging platform, is among the open-source tools that is helping to power these journalistic efforts.

In recent weeks, the number of Live Blog clients using our live blogging platform to bring updates to their audiences has surged. While newsrooms have long used live blogs to record fast-changing news stories, like national elections and terror attacks, the need to produce snippets of content on deadline has made live blogging the medium of choice for virus-related updates.

A web-based digital tool designed for remote teams

What makes Live Blog a perfect platform for this work-for-home era is its flexibility. Not only is it adept at surfacing multimedia and other content quickly, it is also optimised for remote teams. With a connected mobile app (the Live Blog Reporter) and collaborative workflows, Live Blog is a great tool for geographically dispersed teams.

Below are a few examples of major European news organisations using Live Blog to anchor their coronavirus coverage:

  • Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), the German news agency, is syndicating its Live Blog coverage of the pandemic to customers and clients with a variety of specialised live blogs providing minute-by-minute updates on how the disease is affecting Germany and the world.
  • Austria Presse Agentur (APA), the Austrian press agency, is also keeping client publishers updated with their own syndicated Live Blog. One newspaper, Wiener Zeitung, is heavily featuring APA’s Live Blog content, which is packed with stats, updates, and interviews with experts.
  • And at the German news site Zeit Online, reporters have been filing short coronavirus-related stories to a dedicated Live Blog since March 11. By mid-day on March 18, the blog had recorded more than 15,500 comments.
  • Other examples of pandemic-themed Live Blogs can be found at the Norwegian online newspaper ABC Nyheter, and German news sites Tagesspiegel and PNP.

Technology for the needs of news media

We’ve put together a short guide of tips, tricks and best practices on how expert journalists use live blogs to cover crises:

Journalists will always be essential to bringing news to their audiences, and as the level of creativity and cooperation during the coronavirus crisis demonstrates, no technology can replace the human factor in news. But better tools can make journalists’ jobs more manageable. At Sourcefabric, we’re honoured to be playing a role in chronicling one of this generation’s most consequential events.

Ready to blog better?

Getting started has never been easier. Sign up for a free Live Blog demo.

January 14, 2020

Case Study: How Ambiental Jalisco is Using Live Blog for Digital-First Publishing

Ambiental Jalisco using Live Blog

CASE STUDY

Ambiental Jalisco

How Ambiental Jalisco is Using Live Blog for Digital-First Publishing

by Anna Rohleder |  Jan 15, 2020

“Journalism for the protection of the environment” is the motto of Ambiental Jalisco (“Jalisco’s Environment”), a startup newspaper in Mexico focused on getting citizens involved in ecological issues that are literally in their backyard. Ambiental Jalisco publishes original investigative reporting, and also organises related community activities such as plogging, ie., jogging while picking up trash.

Increasing the public’s awareness of the environment and climate change are goals in themselves. But there is also a larger strategy at work: Ambiental Jalisco is the prototype for up to ten additional local news sites around Mexico, which are planned to become a cross-regional environmental reporting network under the umbrella of a think tank called EnviroPress.

To turn this vision into a reality, however, Amiental Jalisco has had to navigate a number of platform and workflow difficulties, some of which Sourcefabric was able to help solve.

The Challenge

Ambiental Jalisco was launched with a truly digital-first publishing strategy. “We design our news websites to operate as content aggregators, which means that we want to publish local news and content in a unique communication channel, with almost no external links and with strong emphasis on social networks,” says founder Alejandro Payan. Short articles or “notes” are published in the outlet’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, with a link back to the website. In that sense, the website is more of a secondary destination, as the audience reads content on social media first. 

When Ambiental Jalisco first launched its website, it lacked automatic archiving functionality. Another initial challenge was an editorial workflow that required content to be added manually. This not only created extra work for the site’s IT manager, but also limited the speed of publishing and the ability to respond to news in real time.

The Solution

As part of Sourcefabric’s media development work, Ambiental Jalisco received a pro-bono Live Blog instance. Our live blogging platform was embedded as a responsive element in the website, providing the dynamic, visually-interactive look of an infinite-scroll format.

Ambiental Jalisco has made the most of Live Blog’s multimedia features and social media integration. Each of their posts features several photos and often a video, along with highlighted pull quotes.

Along with delivering a better experience for readers, Live Blog has also made the editorial workflow more efficient. Payan says:

“Live Blog has strengthened our publishing capabilities by allowing multi-user access to the editing and posting interface.”

In other words, now the website’s reporters can publish stories themselves as soon as they are written and approved, rather than waiting for the IT manager to manually update the website.

Ambiental Jalisco using Live Blog

Ambiental Jalisco news feed

The Results

With enhanced speed of publishing and ease of use, Ambiental Jalisco has been able to increase its output of content and diversify the kinds of stories published. “With Live Blog we deliver information in real time, to improve knowledge that brings us closer to sustainability,” Payan says.  “And what is especially important is that when readers visit the website, they will find information about only one topic: environmental protection in their cities.”

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November 5, 2019

Case Study: VOST.PT, Using Live Blog to Cover a Weather Emergency

Sports, Breaking News, Elections: cover it all live and maximise reader engagement

CASE STUDY

VOST.PT: Using Live Blog to Cover a Weather Emergency

by Todd Jatras |  Nov. 5, 2019

Background:

VOST.PT is the Portuguese affiliate of VOST (Virtual Operations Support Team) Europe, a non-profit, online emergency response network that provides real-time intelligence to keep the public informed during times of crisis.

The VOST concept was developed in 2010 by a group of concerned emergency management communicators and technologists interested in filtering and managing social media during disasters, crises, and critical events. The goal was to build digital hubs where volunteers could gather and disseminate information in two directions. On one side, they would vet information from the public and pass it to the authorities. On the other, they would amplify the latest information from emergency services for the public.

Today, the VOST networks are a critical online source for events happening all over the world. After the Brussels terrorist attacks in March 2016, to use one example, VISOV (French-speaking VOST) quickly pulled together a team of 45 to monitor traditional media (TV, radio, print) and social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, etc.) to identify information and breaking developments to keep those affected by the tragedy as up-to-date as possible.

The Challenge

VOST Portugal wanted to use a live blogging platform like our Live Blog software to cover Hurricane Lorenzo. The storm had briefly reached category 5, and was barreling towards the Azores and expected to reach the archipelago with potentially devastating force the next morning at the time of their first contact with Sourcefabric. 

Because a key purpose of the VOSTs is to act as an intermediary layer in social media between the public and the authorities, VOST.PT needed a robust tool they could use to easily embed posts from any social medium.

The Solution

Live Blog more than lived up to the challenge, providing VOST Portugal with a vital blogging tool that could incorporate all the social media platforms into a centralised repository, providing ample ways to editorialise it: curating, commenting and organising the latest information in a way that extracts what is most important or meaningful for the public.

Lorenzo skirted the western Azores, battering the nine volcanic islands of the archipelago with the strongest winds they had experienced in 20 years. One of the Azores’ most important commercial ports was destroyed, but fortunately, no deaths were reported.

According to Marco Maia, co-founder of VOST Portugal, Live Blog was the perfect tool to cover this dangerous event because it allows easy integration and imbeds from multiple social media sources, letting you sequence posts any way you want.

“At VOST Portugal, we work closely with social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram. These social networks, despite having important tools in terms of content sharing, are limited in terms of publication history. That is, they are  important in the communication structure of VOST Portugal, but probably due to their algorithms, they do not follow a logical sequence, something that Live Blog offers,” said Maia.

The Result

Live Blog Lorenzo registered 1,572 page views, and it was closely monitored by the news channel SIC Notícias. VOST.pt appeared there on the morning of October 2, contributing important crowd-sourced information gathered from those in the path of the storm as well as trajectory data from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

According to Maia, “For us, LiveBlog allowed a deep content structuring ability that does not exist in a single social network or any combination of social mediums. That functionality, the ability to bring a lot of platforms and sources together in one accessible place, goes to the core of VOST Portugal’s activities.”

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