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#Tip: ScribbleLive launches internal chat feature to help journalists communicate

Image by Wiertz Sebastien on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Earlier this week liveblogging platform ScribbleLive announced the launch of a new internal chat feature within its software which enables journalists working on a liveblog to directly communicate and share multimedia privately.

In a post announcing the feature ScribbleLive said it “eliminates the need for content creators to be in the same room or on the same email thread”.

We caught up with ScribbleLive chief executive Michael De Monte who said the feature was “one of the most requested features we’ve had from our customers”.

What it allows our customers to do is basically consult back and forth about what kind of content to publish, when to publish it and all of this is basically a private channel for them to speak to each other.

People can create content from multiple locations, in fact from multiple places around the world and multiple devices, so we decided to incorporate this feature to allow them to have an ability to say, for example, ‘hey are you going to get that photo from such-and-such, and can you publish it as soon as you have it available’, and you can have this private conversation that is not exposed to the real world.

Even if you happen to be in the same city or perhaps even in the same office, not necessarily sitting beside each other, it’s just a really great way to say ‘ok well why don’t you take care of moderation now and I’m going to go and look for some more images on x, y and z’ and that way you don’t have to have a secondary application running.

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#Tip of the day for journalists: team liveblogging pointers

Over on PBS MediaShift Matt Stempeck outlines some pointers on liveblogging as a team effort. His tips, based on his own experiences, range from selecting a liveblogging platform through to dividing up responsibilities.

See the full post here.

Journalism.co.uk recently did a podcast outlining liveblogging tips for digital journalists, which you can listen to here.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

Journalism.co.uk is running a training course on liveblogging on Wednesday evening (12 September) in London. Find out more here.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – try the new Liveblog WordPress plugin

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

A WordPress plugin has just been released that allows WordPress users to turn any post into a liveblog. It offers users the ability to drag and drop photos into a post.

The Next Web has a full explainer:

Automattic, the company behind the hosted WordPress.com service, has just debuted a new live-blogging plugin, aptly titled Liveblog. The free tool allows WordPress users to quickly and easily turn any post into a liveblog, even existing ones, just by checking a box.

Read the rest of The Next Web’s post to find out more.

Journalism.co.uk is running an evening course on liveblogging in a couple of weeks. Details are at this link.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – getting started in liveblogging

August 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Liveblogging platform ScribbleLive has produced a guide for journalism tutors teaching skills in real-time reporting. It includes ideas for practising covering live events before an “actual” event.

The guide maybe intended for teachers but is useful for those who want to get started.

Journalism.co.uk is running an evening course on liveblogging in a couple of weeks. Details are at this link.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Podcast – Real-time reporting: Liveblogging lessons for digital journalists

August 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Online Journalism, Podcast

Image by kennymatic on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Whether you’re a journalist working for a national news outlet, a niche magazine or a local newspaper, there are likely to be plenty of opportunities for you to put liveblogging skills into practice. From big breaking news events and regular local public meetings, to political speeches and visual gadget launches, online audiences are keen to be fed up-to-the-minute information.

In this week’s podcast we hear from three journalists who have much experience in liveblogging for a range of audiences, and are able to share some of the lessons they have learned along the way. As well as some practical pointers on managing a liveblog, we also discuss recent technology developments which have helped enhance the liveblogs of today and what developments are just round the corner.

The podcast hears from:

  • Josh Halliday, reporter, the Guardian
  • Neil Macdonald, head of web and data development, for Trinity Mirror in Merseyside, which includes looking after the websites for the Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo
  • Adam Tinworth, independent consultant and journalist, working in the fields of digital journalism, social media and blogging

Josh, Neil and Adam shared lots more practical tips with us on liveblogging – keep an eye on Journalism.co.uk over the coming week(s) for more of their advice.

In the meantime here is some background reading on liveblogging from Journalism.co.uk:

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CoveritLive switches to paid-only service

Popular liveblogging platform CoverItLive has announced the end of its free usage tier, becoming an entirely paid for subscription service.

In an email to current subscribers the company wrote:

CoveritLive is introducing new monthly subscription plans based on active usage. These plans provide customers full access to all of CoveritLive’s Premium features – previously unavailable to Basic plan customers — including event feeds, event groups and homepages, live webcam and access to the CoveritLive API. Additionally, we have released several new features including a new dashboard with enhanced metrics, simplified Facebook event implementation and improved user management tools.

With the availability of the new plans and features, we will transition all CoveritLive Basic customers (including your current account) to a new Trial plan on July 1st 2012. The Trial plan will still allow you complete access to CoveritLive functionality for free and with no time limit, but it will now place a limit of 25 event “clicks” (active users who click into or engage with an event) per month on your account.

CoveritLive’s ‘Starter’ subscription costs $9.99 per month and allows for 250 viewers per  month, their ‘Standard’ tier costs $149 per month and allows for up to 10,000 viewers. The current Basic plan for the service will end on 1 July.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – practise liveblogging at home

April 27th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

For any aspiring journalist, being able to tell an editor you have liveblogging experience is a definite bonus.

Tools such as Cover It Live mean even if you aren’t working for a media organization, you can practise from the comfort of your own home.

Just pick an event which allows for constant different updates (a conference, debate or for those with a political bent Prime Minister’s Question Time is perfect) and get going.

Practice allows you to get a feel for what makes a good live blog, which is usually a mixture of direct and reported speech, some colour commentary and the ability to use links and other content to put the event into a wider context.

For  expert tips on what makes a successful live blog, see Paul Bradshaw’s tips on what to report and Ed Walker’s thoughts on things to include in your coverage.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – working out when to liveblog rather than tweet

Poytner has a post to help you determine when liveblogging is more effective than tweeting.

Liveblogging is “still one of my favorite instruments in the modern journalism toolkit”, writes Matt Thompson, but fears its popularity is diminishing.

Thompson offers journalists five reasons why a story should be liveblogged rather than tweeted, saying a liveblog forces you to genuinely pay attention, it also forces you to write, it can be intensely engaging, it’s a service to your users and it can be a service from your users.

The full post with all these arguments explained is at this link.

Tipster: Sarah Marshall

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Opinion: Birmingham students outshine Mail and Post in riot coverage

The Manchester Evening News has proved that long-established newspapers can shine online, following Roy Greenslade’s criticisms of some London local newspaper publishers for what he considered weak web riot coverage, with their focus instead being on print editions.

The MEN had around 25,000 people viewing its liveblog at any one time between 8pm and 11pm last night (9 August), one of the paper’s digital editors, Lee Swettenham, told Journalism.co.uk.

We didn’t want to fan any flames so held off from liveblogging until something concrete happened.

The liveblog was started shortly after 6pm, once it was clear riots were taking place in Manchester and Salford.

We had half a dozen reporters out tweeting and taking pictures from the whole area.

We received thousands of comments on the liveblog, including lots of very positive feedback. We were providing information such as travel news.

MEN used liveblogging platform Cover it Live which “worked perfectly” despite heavy traffic.

It shows that if you do it properly online the audience and interest is there.

We shone compared with a lot of the national media. It just shows how valuable we still are.

But where the MEN excelled, readers of the Birmingham Post could be forgiven for failing to realise rioting had taken place in the city.

Just two of the five top stories on the home page carousel are about the riots, the others include a cinema reopening as an independent, a story how a Hong Kong “newspaper shakeup gives Birmingham City investment hope” and a top story about Dragon’s Den. Sister title the Birmingham Mail had more riot coverage on its home page but its site design means it failed to shine (see pictures below which illustrate this).

UPDATE: Responding in the comments section below, David Higgerson, who is head of multimedia at Trinity Mirror, explains the stats prove readers have been going to the Mail and Post for news of the riots and more.

Both sites have seen unprecedented levels of traffic over the past three days, and have devoted many, many man hours to covering the story in a responsible way. The riots coverage is prominent on the home page, but our traffic analysis also demonstrates that people are interested in more than just the riots – hence the promotion of other content on the site. In the case of the Birmingham Post, it is a relied upon source of business information for the city and people expect to be able to find that too. The Birmingham City Football Club story you reference is a very important story, and has been very well read.

Like the MEN, and the Liverpool Echo, the Birmingham Mail and Post sites have run a live blog, and will continue to have reporters working in difficult circumstances to ensure we bring our readers the best possible coverage.

Your analysis of the Post and Mail v the Redbrick coverage seems to centre on not liking our front page design. That’s purely a matter of taste. If you apply the logical web publishing question of ‘Can people find the content they are looking for?’ to our home page, then there’s no doubt those looking for riot coverage will find it, as will those people looking for the content they also expect – other news, business news, sport and so on.

Wolverhampton’s Express and Star, which is behind a part-paywall does well, making its riot coverage available to non-subscribers.

Compare the home page of the Trinity Mirror-owned Birmingham Post (which does have riot video content further down its front page) and sister title the Mail with that of Redbrick, the University of Birmingham’s student newspaper.

Hardly surprising, therefore, that Redbrick has seen 93,000 visits and 148,000 page views since 7 August. And because it is summer, and most students are out of the city, it has been co-ordinated from afar. The editor, Glen Moutrie, an economics student, is in Singapore, and just two student reporters are on the ground getting stories.

Moutrie told Journalism.co.uk how he has been coordinating coverage “quite easily”:

We are doing a lot of it through Twitter, keeping a check on hashtags and following things up.

I’ve also been chatting on Facebook and have managed to do things such as organise a statement from the MP.

Meanwhile The West Londoner, a blog that is the work of another student covering the riots, has seen a million views in one day.

So if a group of unpaid students can get to the heart of the story when the editor is the other side of the world, newspapers which have suffered the closure of their town centre offices in favour of out-of town news hubs should be able to cope.

That is exactly what happened at the Hackney Gazette, which moved from its Cambridge Heath Road office, a short walk from the location of looting on Monday night, to Ilford, Essex, which is nine miles away.

But far from being removed from the story, the Archant-owned weekly has one reporter who works from their Hackney home.

Emma Bartholomew was able to get on her bike and go in search of the story. She described the scene she was reporting on as “a little intimidating”, as she witnessed bricks were being thrown by rioters.

It seems location is less important as long as some reporters are able to go out, tweet, upload videos and get the story. The problem, as Greenslade said, is not to do with the journalists who have shown themselves to be perfectly capable, but with their print-minded publishers.

The problem could not be clearer. Local newspapers remain wedded to print. They are just not set up to report online, even if their journalists have engaged with new media tools.

So long-established local newspapers must focus on their online content, on site design, allowing a story to have sufficient impact if they are not to be outshone by students working without a budget and with an editor posting from the other side of the world.

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#J30: How to use online tools to report national strikes

Some news outlets are reporting that today will see the biggest day of industrial action for 30 years. But the news landscape and tools used in reporting the strikes are a world away from the 1980s.

Here is a quick round-up to inspire ideas for coverage.

The nationals are providing an overview and inspiring debate, but many readers will be turning to local news sites to find out which schools are closed and which services disrupted.

  • A simple list is perhaps the most accessible way of accessing information, as created by hyperlocal Uckfield News;

For more tools and guidance on how to use Storify, Audioboo, OpenHeatMap, Many Eyes and Qik, check out this guide to livening up local election reporting.

For ideas in adding audio, follow these 10 tips.

Related content:

How to: get to grips with data journalism

How to: liveblog – lessons from news sites

How to: get started using Google Fusion tables

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