ScribbleLive Spotlight: U.S. government shutdown, furloughed freebies and a rally

Reading time: 3 min

Last week was a busy one in Washington D.C., and our real-time highlight reel reflects this. Organisations around the world were kept on their toes by the US government shutdown and the shooting on Capitol Hill later in the week. While furloughed employee stories and international reactions take the top spots in this week’s ScribbleLive Spotlight, lesser-known but well-done events about the Rallye de France and a military charity campaign also made it into our ranks.

U.S. Politics by Reuters

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I know we talk a lot about the benefits of always-on events (we ran a live discussion and Scribble Chat about it) but this event from Reuters highlights another advantage of this storytelling technique. Its U.S. Politics page is a slow liveblog that brings together all the freshest, most important news from Washington. The pacing reflects the format when it’s a slow day on Capitol Hill. But when Reuters needs to step it up a gear—i.e. when the government ‘shuts down’—the organisation can easily shift gears and readers already know where to go. As the week went on, Reuters answered readers’ questions, providing essential context and generally keeping their audience informed as the shutdown happened.

Furlough Freebies by WTOP

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As we all know, with your live coverage you don’t have to simply report the facts; you can also look for other angles that would interest your audience. That’s what Washington D.C.-based radio station WTOP did for its shutdown coverage. In addition to reporting all the updates in real time, it created a page to help the furloughed federal employees. A number of local businesses created deals for federal workers, and WTOP started a live event to publicise the best ones. The idea is a simple one, and also provides a service while satisfying a desire among WTOP’s audience. It has become so successful that businesses are coming straight to WTOP and posting the deals directly as comments.

Shooting on Capitol Hill by CNN

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Institutional news wasn’t the only news emerging from Capitol Hill last week. A motorist tried to get through a barricade near the White House, then evaded the Secret Service resulting in a car chase and shots being ‘potentially fired.’ The chase continued, and the official buildings around the Hill were further locked down. CNN kept readers up-to-date with the latest news, speaking to government sources in the thick of the action while also pulling in reports from its journalist on scene. In addition to on-the-ground accounts, the coverage benefitted from video footage of the car chase itself and interviews with eye witnesses. In the end, the suspect was shot dead and two police officers were injured.

Rallye de France by France Bleu

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This rally coverage from France Bleu is a great example of how close you can get your readers to the action. Before the Rallye de France began, France Bleu used the mobile app to record short videos of fans, the cars getting ready and interviews with drivers and members of the team. This level of behind-the-scenes coverage continued throughout and journalists did well to include the best content from around the web (YouTube videos, Instagram photos and tweets). But what makes the event stand out even more is the audience engagement. Above the event, reporters published a call to action—”send us your photos of the rally, we’ll include the best ones and pick a winner who will receive a prize.” Readers responded in droves. The event is peppered with user-generated content, which works out well for everyone: readers are excited to see their photos published and France Bleu gets more photos than they would have been able to get on their own.

Project Down and Dirty by Mytalk1071

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If you’re running a campaign to raise money or awareness for a cause, you would do well to emulate the team at MyTalk. Its team camped out in barracks in order to raise money for a military charity, and their live event brought their audience closer to the experience than they could have ever hoped. They made great use of videos to keep readers in the loop, both with films of them going through their paces and their own messages to the audience. A unique approach like this brings your fans closer to the story and presents a more compelling reason to donate.

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