The top 8 liveblogs of 2011
Clocking in a 285 pages, Reuters’ live coverage of the Japan earthquake produced the world’s longest news story. Reuters launched its liveblog just hours after the quake devastated the country and kept it going for two weeks to cover the aftermath. Readers sent comments and questions from all corners of the planet: with little access to what was happening on the ground, people turned to Reuters to provide updates on their loved ones. The blog is packed with moving photos and videos of the damage, rescue efforts and the Japanese affected by the disaster.
There’s no wedding like a royal wedding. UK news agency Press Association partnered with MSN UK to publish a week-long liveblog of all things Will and Kate. Reporters, embedded in celebrations and scone parties across the continent, provided a steady stream of photos and videos of onlookers while dissecting every detail of the royal couple’s special day. Photographers kept readers in the loop with photos, posted seconds after being taken, so no one missed a beat.
Plenty of liveblogs have sought to rein in the diverse coverage of the Arab Spring, but one of the first was published by Al Jazeera during the uprising in Egypt. Their coverage enraged the Egyptian authorities: they raided the news outlet’s bureau, cutting internet and cell phone power in hopes of snuffing out its coverage. But no matter: ScribbleLive provided a phone number for Al Jazeera reporters to use land lines to phone in their reports. Each report was published in real time as audio files on the liveblog: the frantic tone of voice and chaos in the background lent an immediacy to the reportage, and helped convey what was happening to Western audiences.
When the Canucks lost the cup, reporters covering the game found themselves in the middle of a riot. Two Vancouver newsrooms, The Province and Global TV BC, pushed information out to readers, in real time, despite tear gas, press-targeted violence and countless dead batteries. Sports reporters were early adapters of play-by-play coverage. So it makes sense that the immediate community that formed around a hockey riot found a place to express itself on liveblogs, which became a way to gauge public reaction. Supportive fans used the space to express their disgust and disappointment with the rioters. But they also asked for specific information: was the SkyTrain running? Was it safe to get to my hotel? This is where the two newsrooms really stood out against their competitors. The Province’s coverage was even nominated for an ONA.
Another oh-so-livebloggable event that inspired our clients was the Occupy movement, which started on Wall Street and spread across the planet. The New York Daily News had a team of reporters and photographers embedded in Zuccotti Park to provide ongoing coverage for its liveblog. They’ve topped it with ScribbleLive’s LiveArticle, which let them quickly update the story for readers while providing background, context and links to stories on their site. They nestled entire stories between a steady stream of photos and videos. The liveblogs are stuffed with information, including transcripts of speeches from Mayor Bloomberg, quotes from officials and protesters and coverage of the NYPD raid on the park.
A high-profile trial is perfect fodder for live coverage, and the long-anticipated trial of Casey Anthony, a mother accused of killing her toddler, was no exception. Anticipating the demand for live coverage, Floriday’s WESH.com built a site and an app dedicated to its trial coverage, partnering their live blogs with live video feeds that were pushed to readers in real time. The blogs are filled with courtroom sketches, testimonies, reactions from readers and plenty more.
When a wild fire began spreading across Los Alamos, Hearst station KOAT.com launched a liveblog to follow the flames. Using LiveArticle, KOAT reporters provided an important public service that allowed readers to see where the fire had spread to, and included interviews with the fire chief about where it was headed next. KOAT supplemented their coverage with photos and videos shot by citizens.
Liveblogging reached a perfect storm during Apple’s latest press conference, which saw a record turnout. Everyone was expecting a big announcement — possibly the iPhone 5 (we got the 4s instead). It was also the first presser since Jobs resigned due to illness. And, breaking from tradition, the event didn’t have a live video feed — meaning tech reporters and Apple-addicts had to rely on liveblogs for the juicy feature play-by-play. As such, Scribblelive had unprecedented numbers in viewership. There were plenty of liveblogs of the event, but The Verge stands out for its dedication to rapid-fire updates: its reporters pumped out several a minute, including photos of every slide and summaries of every feature announcement.