CNN adapts the second screen to TV news

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Have you ever used a second screen while watching TV? Second screens are what happens when you combine a shrinking attention span with a ravenous appetite for real-time information.

Media companies use them to allow sports fans to follow and contribute to play-by-play dissection of the game they’re watching, or to allow reality TV addicts to join a national conversation with fellow fans while their favourite shows are being broadcast. But one as-yet neglected area is TV news, which tends to be a one-way flow of content.

CNN wanted to make their readers a part of their live coverage of the Presidential debates. So they ran a liveblog on their politics white label to collect all their coverage, and paired it with with a smaller liveblog that was purely for reader comments. That meant the comment moderators could approve a lot more questions without interrupting the coverage CNN’s editorial team was producing. Readers could consume both coverage and comments, or just the coverage. (Want to do something similar? Use Scribble’s custom Top HTML — via your templates page — to add any custom content to your event: include a map, an ad, a liveblog for comments a la CNN, or any other HTML elements or widgets you can dream up).

In an interview with Lost Remote, Senior Digital Producer CNN/USA Steve Krakauer explained the role live coverage played in their editorial strategy. Lost Remove’s Natan Edelsburg writes:

“[Krakauer explained why it was important for] his to his team to innovate the second screen experience for TV news. ‘On the news side,’ he described that second screen innovation, ‘hasn’t happened as quickly and we wanted to own that space.’

“He also described how important it is for them to curate the social conversation from the right influencers, not just CNN influencers. ‘We will bring in tweets from Michael Moore, Glenn Beck… it was CNN centered but not CNN exclusive,’ he explained.”

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