Definitely harder than it looks: Live Blogging

My first in-class live blogging experience has given me a new appreciation for live bloggers.

Transcribing, reporting, analysing, adding commentary in various forms (tweets, Facebook posts,etc), weaving in article links to form context…all as breaking news and events unfold before their eyes. They are the kings and queens of multi-tasking.

To national political reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, Judith Ireland , to Brisbane Times reporter Marissa Calligeros and to all journalists (aspiring, citizen or well-established) who live blog out there, the journalists of the future should be looking up to as role models to inspire their future careers. You are quick thinking, sharp, strategic and fast on the keyboard, it is what makes you a successful and effective journalist in today’s digital age of journalism which demands immediacy in news reporting and dissemination.

Before my in-class live blog assessment yesterday, I thought I was ready. I had conducted a few practice runs live blogging TV news shows, I read numerous live blogs from talented journalists like the ones above and I took notes from the swathe of informational articles about how to live blog (I even wrote a tip sheet about live blogging myself!). Even after all this, my in-class live blog was a bit of a train wreck to say the least.

After this experience, I want to add a few tips of my own through this post to keep in mind when live blogging events in future.

To national political reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, Judith Ireland , to Brisbane Times reporter Marissa Calligeros and to all journalists (aspiring, citizen or well-established) who live blog out there, the journalists of the future should be looking up to as role models to inspire their future careers.

‘Slow is smooth, smooth is fast’

My roommate who is ex-military told me the above quote and it came to mind when I was reflecting on yesterdays live blogging performance. In the context of journalism it can be interpreted as if you rush it you’ll make mistakes, but if you take the time to slow down and work carefully you’ll actually work faster. The information overload yesterday was hectic, speakers were switching frequently and they were saying lots of brilliant information…I got caught up in it all and wanted to capture every important grab then and there! I remember instances throughout the assessment when I looked at the clock and thinking, wow, its only been two minutes. I wish I had acknowledged that thought that bit more and actually took a microsecond to tap my fingers to re-focus my mind to slow down (even if it is for 20 seconds!).

You can’t write everything

Another flaw in my live blogging yesterday was my slack of ‘information sieve’ if you like, I was too caught up in the heat of the moment I didn’t really filter and deliver those “bite-sized nuggets” of information a live blog is meant to provide for people wanting news on the go or following the event. As much as I tried to be a super-journalist and get everything down, I need to accept in my stubborn mind that it simply isn’t possible as a one man band. Maybe if, like in bigger news organisations, where a team of journalists collaborate to create a comprehensive live blog. But as a one man bad, you must be slightly more selective of your grabs otherwise you’ll end up with a inconsistent live blog riddled with mistakes.

Practice, practice practice…but not by yourself!

While I did practice live blogging various news TV shows, and it while it was good. I think in future it would be more beneficial to live blog the event and then send it off to a friend for feedback or better yet live blog with a friend and see what you both come up with.

 

While yesterday was a bit disappointing, I enjoyed the experience and that massive adrenaline rush of having to write with such immediacy and accuracy. Looking at the experience with a positive outlook, it was a fantastic learning curve. I identified areas where I can improve and to avoid (touch wood!) making these mistakes when live blogging for a news agency here in Australia or internationally.

 

 

 

 

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