Digital Journalism: Live Blogging.

In the tutorial today we looked in to Live Blogging and the different software that can be used during a live blog. The idea for this session was to show us the different ways in which we could live blog an event and how it is becoming a big part of journalism as many want to be updated on an event as the story is unfolding.

Definition:

“…a technique of live reporting, where the journalist covers a fast-moving, often very messy and confused event with a regularly updated stream of information.”- Andy Bull, Multimedia Journalism.

Live blogs are made up of a series of smaller blog posts that follow an event as it happens. As information is added, the blog is updated in real time.

Examples of such Live Blogs can be found here and here.

Live Blogging can be:

  • From a Desk-The journalist running the live blog spends the event finding, filtering and republishing material from third parties, mainly online.
  • From an Event-The journalist will be tweeting, taking pictures, video and audio, interviewing and commenting as things happen at an event.
  • A Hybrid Form-Where a blog editor publishes information being sent in by reporters at the event.

The Advantages:

  • Instantaneous
  • Tells an unfolding story as it happens
  • Enables journalists to link other coverage , whether broadcast, online or social media.
  • Audiences can respond in comments and journalists can respond back.

The Disadvantages:

  • No inverted pyramid
  • If there is no defined timescale, live blogs can get very long
  • Difficult to corroborate information

Choosing an Event:

When reporting live it helps to:
* Have a clear beginning, middle and end.

* Have an event with a clear time scale.

* Make sure your equipment will work and that you’ll have access to it.

* Don’t be too ambitious the first time.

Plan Ahead!

* Research the event you are covering.
* Choose your sources. They can be organisers or participants. Arrange to speak to them.
* Follow key people on Twitter, Instagram and other social media – so you can reblog/retweet.
* Record interviews.
* Take photos in advance.
* Gather all data into a place where it’s easy to find (tools like Dropbox and iCloud come in handy here).
* Test your equipment and connectivity.

Equipment:

Smart phone
Camera
Tablet

Potentially:
Laptop
Dictaphone
External Mic
Headphones

Media:

Text-The hardest thing to do on a smartphone is type… so your updates will be need to be short, descriptive and tightly edited. Give yourself a 50 word upper limit.
Video-Your own video and clips from around the web.
Audio-Soundbites, interviews and so on.
Photographs-Again, your images and those of others.
Tweets-Other people’s insights into the unfolding events. Start or join a hashtag to pull in comments.

Workshop:

We were then given the task of live-blogging a past event. I decided that I would stick to my comic/film roots and live-blog the premiere of last summer’s The Avengers. I felt that this would be appropriate as this was a film that generated a lot of hype not only by fans of the comics, but film lovers alike. It was dubbed as the biggest film of the summer and one of the highest grossing film of all time. In order to live blog this event, I decided to look at the official video of the premiere that was hosted by Marvel at youtube.com. Here, they interviewed many of the cast and captured the overall excitement which I felt was ideal for a live blog.

*Crowd is packed with comic geeks and film goers alike, each with their own piece of merchandise ready to sign. Marvel.com presenters are talking about how they plan to cover the premiere from every angle and as it is a Marvel film they get the first chance to speak to the stars of the film. They have also mentioned that they will feature a specialised camera focusing on the fans called a “fan cam”. The excitement at the premiere is immense!

Shot of the crowd and red carpet.
Shot of the crowd and red carpet.

*Interviewing Actress/Comdeienne Aisha Tyler. She gushes about how much this film means to her not only because she has friends who are in the film but also because she is a massive comic-book fan herself. Talking about how its like a childhood dream come true. It is also during this interview that Scarlett Johanssen arrives on the red carpet.

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Snap Shot of Scarlett Johanssen from E Online's Intagram Account.
Snap Shot of Scarlett Johanssen from E Online’s Intagram Account.

*Chris Hemsworth arrives on the red carpet, only another three Avengers to go until they have fully assembled for the premiere!

*Presenter is interviewing Dominic Monahan from Lost and Lord of the Rings fame. Again asking why he’s here in which is replies that he’s a fan of super-hero films (obviously!) and is here to embrace the spectacle of the film itself and also how they will come across to the audience now they are one big team.

*Interviewing the executive producer of the film, Jeremy Latchman; in which they are discussing the making of the film and how it has taken six years in the making. They also discuss how director Joss Whedon was chosen to helm the film, saying that because of his experience already at Marvel they knew that he would write and create a world in which the characters come to life as a team.

*Stan Lee , the father of comic books comes along to be interviewed, seeming ecstatic about the event in general, mostly as he created the Avengers himself. He mentions his quintessential cameo in the film, and how its such a historic moment not only for Marvel but for comic book films themselves. He talks about his comic future in which he is planning a web series in the next few months. He says he is very excited to see the actors in their roles and Joss handles the spectacle of the film.

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*Jeremy Renner has arrived on the red-carpet, Chris Hemsworth is talking and taking pictures with fans.

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*Interview with Stellen Skarsgard, asked how it feels to be in another Marvel film to which he replies its incredible especially with such a well-known cast stepping in to the roles of the characters. Presenter asks if he was a fan of comics before to which he replies that he has not but he knew of them and so when he got his role of Erik Selvig he started to read the comics.

*Chris Evans has arrived and comes up to be interviewed. He gushes about his on and off set friendship with Tony Stark/ Robert Downey Jr; saying it was interesting getting to know the other actors not only through their characters but also themselves which is a theme that is seen throughout the film.

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*Mark Ruffalo has arrived on the red carpet and ready to be interviewed. Presenter asks what it was like to play a character with so many layers and different attitudes to which he then replies that it was possibly the most exciting part of making the film and what makes The Hulk so different to the other characters.

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*Scarlett Johanssen comes up for an interview next. When asked how it feels to be back as Black Widow again she replies that its nice to know that the fans have embraced her as the character and she was not the initial actress who was cast as the character. The interview is now being interuppted with the arrival of Jeremy Renner with some light banter between the two actors. He is then asked how it felt to be officially in a Marvel film as he made an uncredited cameo in Thor. As it is the first film he really appears he says that there was a need for him to be properly established in this film as the other characters has already appeared and were well known. He also speaks briefly about the archery training that he went through in order to play the character and speaks about the “family” theme within the team in the film.

*Kevin Feige, the CEO of Marvel tells the presenter during his interview how the idea of the putting together this film has been a long time coming and its surreal to think that 6 years ago they were just considering the thought of an Avengers film. He goes to say that Joss Whedon is not only one the bets writers but one of the best directors in the bussiness as he never looses  the navigation of the depth and spectacle of the film and characters.

*Samuel L Jackson later steps to be interviewed. The presenter asks that it must be amazing to have appeared in the all the films so far and now he actually has a bigger role to which he agrees as fans of the films will get to know what the character is really about in terms of the role he has with assembling the avengers.

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*And last but certainly not least Mr Tony Stark himself Robert Downey Jr arrives in the SHIELD car.

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I decided to end my liveblog of this video at this point as I felt that it was best to end it once all the main actors had arrived at the premiere. I feel that overall this live blog was quite difficult as it was hard to update an event that has already happened some time ago. as I could not get any twitter updates or other forms of media other than the video itself and the pictures that I have found on the internet. When I do my official live blog I feel that it will be a lot easier to focus on the event as I am going to be there myself so I can capture the event as it is unfolding. I do however think that this was good practice and has given me a few ideas as to what I want to do my live blog on.

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