How News Media are Taking Advantage of Live Blogging Platforms to Cover the Pandemic in Real Time

How news media are taking advantage of live blogging platforms to cover the pandemic in real time
Photo : How news media are taking advantage of live blogging platforms to cover the pandemic in real time

The global COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way journalists are working, with many now operating in quarantine from home and increasingly relying on collaborative, cloud-based technology to report on the biggest story of our time.

According to Chartbeat, live blogs made up 39% of the top 100 articles list across 700 publishers in 70 countries--the best performing editorial format during the month of April. In the past, newsrooms have typically relied upon live blogs to cover stories that require frequent updates, such as elections, terror attacks and sporting events. But these metrics show that live blogging should be an essential tool for any news operation.   

With live blogs currently generating some of the highest traffic for newsrooms, many media organisations are discovering that blogging tools are the most efficient way to provide live coverage on a story of this nature. Sourcefabric, Europe's largest developer of open-source tools for journalists, has a live blogging solution called Live Blog that is widely used around the world.  In this post we'll look at how news organisations are using Sourcefabric's Live Blog for such coverage. Live Blog is a flexible live coverage platform designed especially for news professionals. It's built for editors and writers working together remotely on posts that are constantly updated in real time as breaking news happens. In short, it is ideal for quickly creating and publishing short-form content while easily embedding posts from all the social media platforms into the mix.

Live Blog: A cloud-based live blogging tool designed for remote journalism 

Live Blog is ideally suited for the new work-from-home reality, with geographically dispersed editors and writers able to work seamlessly together to provide the critical, timely coverage their readers expect. Flexibility is key. Live Blog is an agile, open-source live blogging platform that can handle the full range of multimedia content as well as posts from all social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc). Furthermore, it features straightforward collaborative workflows and an easy-to-setup mobile app (the Live Blog Reporter), making it especially easy for editors and writers to collaborate and report from any location in the world.

Let's look at some of Live Blog's biggest users, mostly major European news organisations, and a few examples of how they are deploying this live blogging tool to cover the coronavirus crisis.

- Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), the German news agency, has syndicated all of its Live Blog coverage of the pandemic to customers and clients. Live Blog has solid syndication features, which dpa is taking advantage of with a wide selection of targeted live blogs that provide constant updates on how the virus is playing out at home and abroad.

- Austria Presse Agentur (APA), the Austrian press agency, is also using Live Blog's sophisticated syndication tools to keep client publishers up-to-date with the latest news. For instance, one client newspaper, Wiener Zeitung, is prominently featuring APA's live blogs which showcase the numbers behind the story along with expert opinion.

- Starting on March 11, reporters at German news site Zeit Online began publishing short coronavirus-focused stories to a dedicated Live Blog. A week later, their coronavirus live coverage had collected more than 15,500 comments from appreciative readers.

- A few other examples of coronavirus-themed Live Blogs: Norwegian online newspaper ABC Nyheter, and German news sites Tagesspiegel and PNP.

Technology tailored to the needs of journalists 

Sourcefabric has produced a short guide of tips, tricks and best practices for professional journalists looking to use Live Blog, or any other live blogging platform, to cover crises and other breaking news stories. You can download it for free, here.

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