Tag Archives: social media

Live Blogging

14 Sep

With the advent of the new journalistic “era” heralded by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the nature of journalism as an entity has shifted towards an increasingly time-based paradigm. Readers expect their news instantly; effectively, a minute after the event unfolds is “late” for modern reporters. Otherwise, the news will probably have been spread around the internet by onlookers with camera phones, making the jobs of journalists redundant.

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The response to this by many larger news organisations has been to employ reporters to cover the action of any event deemed worthy on a minute-by-minute basis. These events can range from sports games, elections, conferences, stock markets, natural disasters and international or civil unrest. They are characterised by a less formal type of journalism, with moderators encouraged to adopt a more conversational style. This appears to be the media’s response to their readership’s changing interests. As readers, we now want to follow live coverage that a) we can relate to, b) have our opinions challenged by other opinions and c) arguably, to have a laugh.

The concept of live blogging has not been universally embraced, though. Some journalists and readers, like this one, are unsure about the merits of the liveblog’s format. The argument put forward in that blog post is that the “running” nature of liveblogging erodes the key values behind the inverted pyramid style of journalism. The writer of the above post was not thrilled by the Guardian- calling it ‘nonsensical unstructured jumble’. While that may seem a little bit harsh, the structure of liveblogging could be considered a pitfall; it is at odds with the traditional journalistic maxims of a structured story, with important information at the top of the story, filtering down.

When we were assessed on our ability to live blog two political speeches  and one interview, it was a stressful time for me. I found it extremely challenging, balancing listening to the riveting speeches, and transcribing relevant comments, as well as augmenting them with my own (often hilarious) commentary. This is why news organisations often employ more than one journalist to cover a live blog, and also why media organisations are often given transcripts of speeches before they are said.

In my humble opinion, live blogs are a reporting tool that will endure as long as social media remains the ubiquitous presence that it is today.

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Snow Fall- The start of something new?

5 Aug

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Snow Fall, was a predominantly online, multimedia story by John Branch, one of the New York Time´s Pulitzer Prize-winning writers. It consisted of six parts, each of which working together to present a brilliant multimedia story on skiing fatalities. The piece received great attention, praise and criticism not for its words but for its “revolutionary” use of the unwritten – videos, graphics and bios.

Groundbreaking? Hardly.

Despite the acclaim and attention (3.5 million views within the first 6 days), Snow Fall is not the start of a shift to a multimedia landscape for journalism. I (like probably most of the traffic to the page) came for the spectacle not to read the particularly long story. I skimmed most of the content, focusing my attention on the pretty pictures and videos. Yes it´s engaging but not enough hold my attention for the 12 minutes it would take to read through and despite the hype, Snow Fall is not the first multimedia story out there.

Journalism has been becoming increasingly online and interactive since the slow demise of print media began over a decade ago. For example, it is commonplace now to have interactive social media “buttons” on news sites that allow readers to like, comment or share stories on several different platforms. In addition, there are a number of non-news sites that have been utilizing multimedia tools. Click here for examples.

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Snow Fall is not the start of something new; it is just one, particularly well presented, example of how media corporations are adapting with their market. Readers no longer want to be passive consumers but rather active participants, taking part in the news they read. Aljazeera, the Guardian and basically all major news corporations have been utilizing videos, graphics and interactive discussion boards to engage with consumers for some time now.

In my opinion, Snow Fall is a great story but nothing more.