Introduction to Live Blogging

Live blogging is “a blog or a single post on a blog that contains real-time updates that are posted during and in response to a particular event. On a live blog, the blogger posts brief updates that contain observations or opinions that give readers a feel for the atmosphere or response to an event.”

Read about live blogging in the book JournalismNext p. 132 – 134.

Live blogging is used to cover almost any event that reporters used to have at least a few hours to report, but now they have to do it on the fly as the event happens. Reporters often have to live blog an event and then write a follow-up story after. In this case, live blogging is like a public form of note taking.

Some research has found that live blogs can outperform other online news formats by as much as 300%

It consists of:
-Real-time coverage
-Short posts
-Time stamp in reverse chronological order
-Text, photos, video, polls, and audience interaction


-A local radio station in Colorado live blogs the President’s news conference live blogs a NBA basketball game live blogs release of financial earnings by Cisco

Wall Street Journal live blogs the 2012 Oscars

-USAToday live blogs the Super Bowl

Inquirer’s Chris Melchiorre live blogs the Council Rock South vs. Neshaminy football game

Engaget live blogs the new iPad Mini launch

Tools and Technology:
There are a lot of ways to do it. You can use a mobile phone. You can use a laptop. You can do it as single blog post that you update with your own time stamps. You can use Twitter and a create a hashtag for the event. There are also software platforms built specifically for live blogging like CoveritLive, a free, web-based live blogging tool. You can also embed CoverItLive into your blog.

In-class assignment:
Sign Up for a CoverItLive account

1. Click on the Sign Up/Login button. Under Sign In in upper right hand corner, click on Register.

2. Fill in the CoverItLive Registration.

3. Log in to the email account you gave in registration. You should have an email from CoverItLive. If you don’t see it, look in your junk email box.

4. With the link in the email, log into CoverItLive.

5. The first time you login you will be prompted to make a product selection.  Sign up for CoveritLive Basic.

6. When you get to the My Account page, click on the Add New Event.

Look for the message that reads:

“Not ready to go live? Use the fully functioning software without anyone watching. This is a great way to get used to the interface and features BEFORE your first live event. Although all the features are active, nothing you create in a practice session is saved or broadcast for viewing.”

Click on the “Click Here to Practice” link.

7. Orient yourself to the software.

On the left is your Media Library and other tools, where you can add audio, images, videos, links, text, etc. You can also connect it to your Twitter account so you can live blog from it.

In the middle top is the display screen. This is what your readers see. At the bottom is your text box. This is where you write and publish your posts. Type in a test message in the text book and hit send. You will see it publish and see the time stamp.

On the right hand side is where reader comments show up.

Now you are ready to begin.

Here are a few tips for live blogging:
-In your first few entries, make sure to include the 5 Ws of the event (who, what, where, when, why).

-Write a sentence or two and hit send rather than writing a long paragraph.

-You can’t cover everything word for word, so listen and watch for key moments, quotes, facts. Look for what is newsworthy.

-Know how to spell key names and have some key facts ahead of time. A cheat sheet of notes or some text that you write ahead of time can help.

-Don’t assume your readers are watching the same thing you are. You have to fill in the gaps. You have to describe what is happening.

-Focus on being clear, concise, and informative. But also make it lively.

Practice Examples:

1. President Obama Speaks on Reducing Gun Violence, April 3, 2013

Use the transcript of his remarks to supplement your blogging.

2. Women’s World Cup Final, 1999. USA vs. China.

The game is being played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. This is the first Women’s World Cup game ever. The game is tied and will be decided by penalty shoot out. Each team gets five shots, one-on-one against the goal keeper. (Start video at 6:00)

U.S. Players to note in your live blog:
-Brianna Scurry, goal keeper
-Carla Overbeck, 1st U.S. player to take penalty kick
-Joy Faucett, 2nd U.S. player to take penalty kick
-Kristine Lilly, 3rd U.S. player to take penalty kick
-Mia Hamm, 4th U.S. player to take penalty kick
-Brandi Chastain, 5th U.S. player to take penalty kick

3. Album of the Year, 2013 Grammy’s

Presenter: Adele, who won in 2012
-El Camino, Black Keys
-Some Nights, Fun.
-Babel, Mumford & Sons
-Channel Orange, Frank Ocean
-Blunderbuss, Jack White

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