ScribbleLive Spotlight: Syria, Hostages and Air Guitars

Reading time: 3 min

In last week’s Spotlight, it was the turmoil in Egypt that took the headlines. This week, the attention has turned to another Arab state in crisis: Syria. Reports that nerve gas was used to kill people in a Damascus neighbourhood shocked the international community and has provoked murmurings of military intervention. Coverage of this unfolding story are featured in this week’s Spotlight alongside a protest in the Philippines and the use of social video platform Tout in a live event.

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The images of death and suffering that emerged from Syria August 21 were harrowing even for the most experienced observers. Reuters let the pictures speak for themselves, which were featured heavily at the beginning of their live coverage. The journalists expanded on the story as more details became available, providing essential context and bringing reaction from around the world; raw footage from Syria shared the same page as the United Nations press conferencestatements from foreign ministers sat alongside insightful reader comments, with each element adding further depth to the coverage.

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Last week, Ingolstadt, a Bavarian city in the south of Germany, became the centre of attention as a man took hostages in the town hall. The crime came about as the perpetrator was obsessed with one the hostages – the fact that it took place on the same day that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to visit the region, and subsequently had to cancel, was just an uncanny coincidence. This was the first time that Mittel Bayerische used ScribbleLive for a ‘breaking news’ story and, according to deputy editor-in-chief Holger Schellkopf, it was their ‘top story throughout the day’. Even though the story didn’t take place in their own region, they were able to get the freshest updates as they worked collaboratively with the more local organization, Augsburger Allgemeine, who had reporters on the scene and shared information with them. The result is excellent live coverage that features an interesting mix of content and kept readers glued to the page.

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On August 26, protests against corruption – dubbed the Million People March – brought Manila to a standstill, with reports of up to 400,000 people taking to the streets. Rappler produced very visual coverage of the event, harnessing user generated content to great effect to keep readers informed. Their own reporters’ photos were accompanied by floods of images pulled in from social media (predominantly Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #millionpeoplemarch. They also made really good use of comment and discussion features, and readers had informed debate about the pros and cons of the demonstration.

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Every day The Oakland Press creates a Top Tout News event and populates it with their reporters’ best Tout videos. This is a great idea for publications whose journalists are making the most of the plethora of digital tools at their disposal. Rather than have the videos scattered around the internet, pull them all together in one place (a Scribble event) and allow your readers to scan them at their leisure.  Nice.

  • Air Guitar World Championship by Kaleva

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And finally: the air guitar world championship in Finland. As you would imagine, this event is full of people clutching invisible guitars in a dramatic manner with a pained expression on their face. A silly event, maybe, but well covered? Yes! A live stream on the top of the page and a second-screen-style Scribble event beneath meant that fans’ air guitar needs were met. The moderator engaged with the readers and explained the ins and outs of the competition for anyone who had questions. Fortunately, he never took himself too seriously: ‘U finnish people are crazy’ a reader posted; ‘Thank you’ was the prompt reply from the moderator.

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