Marking anniversaries in real time

Important anniversaries have always been a great source of column inches. A historical context story here, an opinion piece there and plenty of hindsight everywhere. With real-time technology, you can approach these events with fresh perspectives and give the readers’ voices more prominent roles.

The examples below should give you some inspiration, whether you’re planning to cover the 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery (August), the 90th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company (October) or the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.

Reader Discussion: Share your memories of JFK 

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The Dallas News is running a series of events throughout 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, an event that had a “profound and lingering impact on the city of Dallas.” As part of the series, they invited readers to share their memories of the day of Kennedy’s assassination in this ScribbleLive event. It’s a fantastic way to honour an anniversary, especially if the event is of particular significance to your audience. This has been live since January – it’s easy to set up, requires little work from journalists and shows readers that you value their participation.

Expert Discussion: The Korean War 60 Years On

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Digital First Media chose another approach to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Korean war and invited Geoffrey Cain – Global Post’s senior South Korea correspondent – for a live discussion. The chat makes perfect sense for this topic, as it allows Cain to discuss the anniversary itself while also answering questions on the state of the region now. Above all, it’s his expertise that shines through, and his responses are both thought-provoking and enlightening.

Memorial Event: 9/11 Ten Years Later

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New York Daily News’ coverage of 9/11’s 10th anniversary was always going to be an important affair. For this event, they had reporters spread out across New York to capture a city remembering its mourning, and to tell the powerful stories of those who were affected. The approach to this story is similar to any live event you’re covering. Use ScribbleLive as a vehicle for good reporting: interview interesting people, take striking photos and capture the sense of the occasion.

Relive the Event: 60th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation

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This is the grandaddy of real-time anniversaries: CPAC’s editorial team recreating the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as if it were happening live. Grainy colour photos accompany the list of attendees. The psalms that were sung as the Queen entered the abbey are here. Reporters even published the original supplement to the ceremony on the liveblog in full (using Scribd), and included tweets from people following the coverage. It’s a fantastic recreation of a historical event with the aid of new media, pushing the boundaries real-time storytelling and showing off the very best of ScribbleLive.

Thinking of covering an anniversary in real-time? Here are some coming up in the next year:

25th anniversary of Lockerbie disaster (Dec 2013)
50th anniversary of Kenyan independence (Dec 2013)
50th anniversary of Beatles tour of USA (Feb 2014)
20th anniversary of Rwandan genocide (April 2014)
10th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s death (June 2014)
100th anniversary of WWI (July 2014)
100th anniversary of Panama Canal (August 2014)

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