by Gregory Bruno | March 20, 2020
Covering the Coronavirus: Live Blog Use Cases
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.