Live blogging, a review

Picture of the Congressional Country Club golf course
The 111th US Open was at the Congressional Country Club. I covered an hour of the US Open via a live blog on June 16, 2011.

For my MSU Social Media and News Journalism Course, we had an assignment to live blog an event for one hour using Cover It Live software and Posterous to post. Below is a quick overview of how it went and what I learned in the process.

Local vs. National Event

Inspired by an FCC Report about the lack of local journalism, I was planning to do a local event, but quickly figured out that a local event would make it very difficult to meet the class requirements for the live blog, which were:

  • At least four links to online references
  • At least two Flickr images
  • At least one video (these could be pre-loaded into the software)
  • At least two Twitter streams

Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of local event where others would be tweeting or taking photos, so I decided to cover a National Event. After skimming the national front for interesting live events, I settled on the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. So, on June 16, I completed a live blog of the US Open.

Amount of Time

At first, when I read the assignment, I thought “Great! This shouldn’t take a lot of time because it is only one hour,” but I quickly found out otherwise. Even though I golf, I found that I needed to do a lot of research on the players, the tournament, the course, etc. to get me up to speed on the U.S. Open. In addition to preliminary research, I knew I wouldn’t have time during the live blogging to pull photos, videos, links and Twitter streams while live blogging, which meant I had to find all of that ahead of time and load it into the Cover It Live software. It turns out, between the research and the media gathering, it took about 4 hours to prepare for a one hour live blog.

Coordination of Technology

Technology is beautiful when it all works the way it is supposed to and frustratingly horrible when it doesn’t. One problem with the Cover It Live software I had was embedding YouTube videos into my live blog. I had preloaded all of the videos into the software, but during my live blogging, they came up blank. I kept experimenting and finally found that, if you put the embed code directly into the writing window, the videos will work.

The other issue I had was integrating the Posterous software with my Twitter account. I could get Posterous to post that I had a live blogging session coming up, but none of my actual live blogging posts, no matter what I tried. I eventually gave up and decided it was more important to focus on my live blogging than dealing with the technology issue.

Bottom Line

Live blogging was a fun way to cover an event, but it is time consuming and requires a good grasp of multiple software platforms and their integration features. If you are interested in live blogging, I would recommend practicing on some minor events prior to a major event where you want to make sure your coverage is flawless.

Post originally published on my MSU Journalism blog, Fit To Type.