by Anna Rohleder | June 25, 2019
Double duty at DPA: How Germany’s top news agency benefits from Live Blog
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.