by Gregory Bruno | June 15, 2020
News & Updates
June 15, 2020
How to publish Tweets to your Live Blog with just one click
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
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- We want to configure Integromat to watch “Someone Else’s Tweets;” pull the dropdown menu to do that.
- 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.
- 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:
- Click on the half-bubble to the right of the newly-created Twitter module, select the “+” button, and type “Live Blog.”
- 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.
- Once you’ve selected Live Blog, you’ll be prompted with a window of choices; select “Create a Contribution.”
- 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://demo–api.liveblog.pro]. This tells Live Blog that a third-party app is trying to connect.
- Enter your username and password.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Click “OK.”
- Now, establish the intervals that Integromat will pull content from the Twitter account you’re watching. Set that by clicking the “Clock” icon.
- Once you’ve established the connection in Integromat, click “Run Once” to start feeding tweets into your Live Blog from the selected Twitter account.
- 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.
May 26, 2020
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 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.
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:
- Tagesspiegel’s Bundesliga football coverage
- dpa’s Wimbeldon live blog and Formula 1 racing coverage
- Independent sports blog AthleticsAfrica uses Live Blog to report on African athletes, with an emphasis on track and field, road running and cross country.
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
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:
- the Nepali Times coverage of the 2015 Earthquake in Nepal
- how VOST.PT tracked Hurricane Lorenzo as it approached the Azores archipelago in 2019
- DPA’s coverage of the June 2019 European heat wave.
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.
War and Terror Attacks
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
May 5, 2020
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.
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
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 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”.
April 8, 2020
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
March 20, 2020
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.
January 14, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.”
November 5, 2019
VOST.PT: Using Live Blog to Cover a Weather Emergency
by Todd Jatras | Nov. 5, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.”
July 11, 2019
Nettavisen: Using Live Blog to promote reader engagement and media literacy
by Anna Rohleder | July 11, 2019
Norwegian online news site Nettavisen has used Live Blog to cover news events that generate a lot of discussion, such as the Premier League football player trading season, as well as the controversial trial of domestic terrorist Anders Behring Breivik in 2012.
Recently the site’s editors decided to experiment with Live Blog to cover news that usually doesn’t get so much public attention: in this case, meetings of the Oslo City Council. Part of the experiment was to see if there might be more interest from readers if the meetings themselves and the issues raised in them were more visible.
Nettavisen used Live Blog to cover city meetings once in the summer and once in the winter.
“Using the live tool to cover the Oslo City Council meeting was primarily a convenient way for us to take notes from the meeting and at the same time give the audience a way to see what was happening. It can be a tool that gets readers involved,” said Trond Lepperød, the reporter who covered the meetings.
It’s not just a way to get readers more involved with local government. It’s also an opportunity to educate them in how the news itself is constructed. The format of a live blog, with its chronological timeline of the meeting, along with quotes from various people speaking, supplemented by photos or other multimedia, “disassembles” all the elements of a conventional news article and presents them for consideration individually. Enhancing transparency toward readers was one of Nettavisen’s editor’s aims, in particular through sharing with the audience the source material they are working with.
It can also be interesting for other journalists to look through the meeting’s live blog as a kind of transcript and find topics to follow up on and make their own news stories about.
The verdict so far is that these experiments are worth doing, to keep exploring new storytelling formats and see how they work on different devices and platforms. Nettavisen aims to keep experimenting with the use of Live Blog for other breaking news events such as severe weather and elections.
“It’s about picking the right moment and occasion for the tool,” said Lepperød.
Some of the topics under discussion during the winter session included:
- Deregulation or some loosening of some of the existing rules governing the taxi industry.
- Banning e-bicycles in the municipal forests.
Some of the topics under discussion during the summer session included:
- Ensuring that the activities and investments to promote Oslo as Europe’s environmental capital are carried forward.
- Whether the police have guns in certain situations, i.e. when facing gangs.
June 27, 2019
Double duty at DPA: How Germany’s top news agency benefits from Live Blog
by Anna Rohleder | June 25, 2019
DPA is Germany’s main news agency with virtually all of Germany’s media organisations as their clients. Part of the value they offer is the ability to cover news events at the national and international level, especially when something sudden or unexpected occurs.
In dpa’s Berlin newsroom, there is a “top desk” where the agency’s journalists gather during such major news events. Among the other reporters and editors, there is a Live Blog editor who creates a new blog on the topic on the spot, adding updates as they come in.
“We can respond quickly to breaking news and launch a live blog about an event right away, which our clients can then put on their websites,” said Jirka Albig, head of marketing and product management at dpa-infocom. “It’s like an insurance policy for unforeseen events.”
Recent examples of these live blogs include the fire in Notre Dame, the terror attacks in Sri Lanka and ongoing political maneuverings over Brexit in Britain.
Having a ready-to-publish package of text, photos and a running commentary on the timeline of an event that’s unfolding in another country or continent is valuable in itself for newspapers and smaller media organisations in Germany, and even more so when such events happen outside of their newsroom hours, i.e. at night or the weekend.
All of dpa’s live blogs – including blogs covering planned events such as elections, as well as blogs related to running topics like top photos of the day – are available in their web shop. For customers, it is possible to buy individual blogs “a la carte” right from this page (and they are all free to browse or follow for readers). In practice, however, most of dpa’s clients have a subscription entitling them to publish any of the live blogs on offer.
Whether through a subscription or one-off purchase, the customer receives an embed code for the live blog, which they can then insert into their website. No matter what website platform a customer is using, integration is seamless: the content of the blog goes live on their site instantly.
If the news organisation is also using Sourcefabric’s Live Blog or another live blogging platform themselves, the possibilities for creating something even more valuable for the audience increase. The customer news organisation can add their own local content and commentary to the national or international news delivered by dpa, turning the live blog into a truly co-produced product.
Two recent examples of this type of cooperation included the crash of two Eurofighter jets in northeastern Germany and a live blog of a late-June heat wave. In both cases, the main news provided by dpa was supplemented by local news providers in the affected regions.
Live Blog serves a few key purposes both for dpa as a news agency and in the news ecosystem as a whole. First, it eliminates the technological and financial hurdles to producing live coverage, giving smaller media organisations in particular the ability to report on breaking news events. Second, Live Blog’s flexibility as a format fosters more creativity in journalistic storytelling. And as a collaboration platform, Live Blog allows news organisations of various sizes in different parts of the country to work together on something that benefits them all.
“It does represent an additional revenue stream for us, but its value is even greater for building customer relationships,” said Jirka Albig.
May 8, 2018
Featured Live Blog: dpa’s “Weird News & Other Offbeat Stories”
by Julia Vernersson | May 8, 2018
It has already been three years since Germany’s largest press agency, dpa, began their live blog “Weird News & Other Offbeat Stories”. Since, it has become the go-to place to discover Germany’s weirdest happenings and news. Live Blog users can syndicate this blog, complementing their own regional stories with other dpa-live content and making it all easily available to their subscribers. “Weird News & Other Offbeat Stories” is currently embedded in around two dozen customer websites, including Mitteldeutsche Zeitung and Radio Essen. We had a look behind the scenes of this popular blog by asking Süleyman Artiisik from dpa a few questions.
What makes this blog so special?
Every day in Germany and around the world a lot of strange things happen – ranging from the curious and bizarre to the adventurous. Then, there are topics that go viral on the net. We gather all of these in one place – on our blog. It is a “good mood blog”, there is nothing about death or serious injuries. The blog should bring a smile to the reader’s face.
What is the weirdest post you have published so far?
There are now more than 4,000 posts on the blog. It’s hard to say which one is the winner – there are quite a few candidates. For example, we recently posted one about a flying duck that was caught by a speed control camera in a 30 km/h zone in Switzerland, and one about a ten-year-old boy who called the police because he could not solve his homework.
How big is your blogging team?
Indirectly, this blog incorporates the dpa’s reporting and photography network. For the maintenance of the blog, we often use, among other things, the dpa text and photo service. We are also on various social networking sites and look for weird stories, videos and photos. For this, we use special social media monitoring tools. On a typical day, two people work two different shifts on the blog.
How does Sourcefabric’s Live Blog help you to run a good blog?
It is very useful. With the tool, we can embed all contributions from social networks via an embedding code directly into the blog – be it from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. This means we do not have to use external links. We also enjoy the possibility of freedom to design a post. A post doesn’t have to consist of only text and a photo or a video – we can combine anything we need.
What do you wish for the “Weird News & Other Offbeat Stories” blog in the future?
That customers feature this blog prominently on their websites. It’s no secret that readers spend more time on live blogs than reading regular articles. Live blogs also have a higher number of visitors, especially blogs that focus on entertainment and humour.