ScribbleLive Spotlight: Floods, Wine and Phones

Reading time: 3 min

Although we’re already weeks into ‘summer,’ the weather hasn’t been kind for many in Europe. Torrential rain battered the central strip of the continent and caused devastating floods. One of our most striking examples in this week’s ScribbleLive Spotlight is from a media house in Germany who demonstrated just how effective—and important—real-time reporting can be. The rest of the roundup features virtual wine tasting and a discussion on African agriculture.

  •  Hilfe suchen – Hilfe finden by


‘Flood help in central Germany: do you want to help? do you need help? Write to us!’ With this simple instruction, MDR launched their flood helpline. One week later and the page has clocked up over 650,000 unique visitors and almost 2,000 comments as people in the local area rise to the occasion to help their neighbours. ‘Where are donations needed? Would like to help!’ and ‘I live in Leipzig but cannot leave because of my child. Offering babysitting for those affected—can serve 3 – 4 children’ about sum it up.

By giving readers a forum to leave comments and pulling in posts from social media (Facebook and Twitter), MDR made sure that everyone can contribute to the conversation. What’s the best way to get your event even more exposure? Syndication. MDR—part of the enormous state-owned broadcaster ARD—gave their event to the small local station Sächsische Zeitung who, in turn, enabled their readers to contribute to the effort. The journalists streamlined the process by highlighting the key posts left by readers with phone numbers and email addresses of those who wanted to help. This timely campaign provided essential relief to people in need and, less importantly, restored our faith in humanity.

  • Dégustation Virtuelle by Le Soir

Dégustation virtuelle avec Eric Boschman

A virtual wine tasting—now that’s a great idea! This one is from the Belgian daily Le Soir (I know, I thought they bigger beer drinkers too). It’s pretty simple really: they ask the readers to buy a particular bottle of wine and drink it in front of their screens while watching the Belgian sommelier Eric Boschman discuss it with a couple of journalists. But it’s not just about watching the livestream. This is 21st century digital journalism—it’s all about interaction. The readers chat to each other in the liveblog and, more importantly, get to ask the expert questions, while he responds in the video stream. ‘At the first mouthful I got the fragrance of the South of France, can you tell me if this is a gross misjudgement on my part?’ Ah, I love Europe…

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 11.36.18

Last week a gunman shot several people at a college in Santa Monica a few miles from where President Obama was due to speak at a fundraiser. The journalists at this Los Angeles publication were able to capture the ensuing chaos by pulling in tweets and vines from students, eye witnesses and reporters. Importantly, they added their own content and analysis, providing frequent ‘Here’s what we know at …’ updates throughout. Their newsroom is well-trained on the platform and use it regularly, so when the news broke they were able to respond quickly and efficiently.

How Africa can feed the world   The Globe and Mail

This is a fantastic example of a Q and A using the platform and showcases the best of the discussion feature. Bringing together three specialists on international affairs, The Globe and Mail hosted a conversation on the potential of African agriculture. Some questions were pulled in before the event officially began and one of the experts, Calestous Juma, went back and answered all of them with ‘threaded’ comments meaning that even though the answer came well after the question, it still sat neatly beneath it. The discussion feature also enabled all three contributors to debate a question with each other, as happened here. Highlighting the ability to integrate social media, they were even able to ‘discuss’ questions that were pulled in from Twitter. A great chat on a fascinating subject.

Samsung Canada   GALAXY S4 Q A   Facebook

Did someone say social media integration? Samsung Canada organised a Q and A with their customers so they could pick experts’ brains about their newest phone, the S4, and published it on their Facebook fanpage. Boasting a bunch of new features with fancy names, the customers had a lot of questions which were quickly answered by their in-house expert. Not only is this a great way to show consumers that you care about their feedback, but it also provides Samsung with another platform to boast about their new features. Not ones to miss a trick, they also published the event on their own site.

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