Liveblogs allow for a significant amount of citizen participation and engagement, according to Citizen Journalism in Real Time? Live Blogging and Crisis Events, a chapter in a new book by researchers at City University London. Using data from The Guardian, the BBC, ScribbleLive and past studies, Neil Thurman and James Rodgers found that “live blogs hosted on the ScribbleLive platform are incorporating unprecedented quantities of citizens’ testimony on crisis events.”
The chapter shows liveblogs bring in more visitors than “traditional” newspaper webpages, and keeps those visitors around for more time. In fact, “readers have said they are more than twice as likely to participate in live blogs as in other article types,” write Thurman and Rodgers.
We pulled some of the key findings from Thurman and Rodgers’ research together in this infographic:
Why would this type of community engagement, when looking at it from a journalistic perspective, be a good thing? It’s a diversification of voices. The media have a long, proud history of being a platform for citizen expression, with online comments on articles, radio call-ins and letters to the editor. Also, according to Thurman and Rodgers, additions from non-official sources provide context to an event and a local view of a story that foreign journalists might not have.
“The live blog, even in its relatively filtered form, has made it easier for news organisations to include an increasingly diverse range of content in their output, including from non-official or citizen sources,” write Thurman and Rodgers.
The future of liveblogging and its impact on journalism remains to be seen, say Thurman and Rodgers. “That ‘live’ principle has embraced citizens’ contributions to a degree that at least equals, and probably surpasses, practice found in most other forms of journalism. The consequences of that embrace will be fascinating to follow as the future unfolds.”