ScribbleLive Spotlight: Mandela, Storms and Marijuana

Reading time: 3 min

It has been a while since we published a ScribbleLive Spotlight, so this one covers events from the past couple of weeks.

The biggest story of this short period was the passing of a man who inspired millions and became the global symbol of moral fortitude and forgiveness. Tributes to Nelson Mandela – some told in real-time – poured from around the globe when he passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 95.

In addition to the reaction to Mandela’s death, this week’s Spotlight features the legalization of marijuana and snowfalls in the northern hemisphere.

Nelson Mandela by Al Jazeera

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‘Former South African President Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his Johannesburg home on Thursday…’  That is how Al Jazeera began its event that charts the reaction to one of the world’s great unifiers. The news organisation continued their event with tributes from social networks; in the first few posts Aung San Suu Kyi, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama all express their condolences. On top of this, Al Jazeera brought together multimedia stories, text updates and slideshows of Mandela. Well versed in slow liveblogging, it kept the event running for the memorial service a few days later, where they had reporters on the street engaging with the public searching out the South African story.

Its real-time coverage continued further, and it covered the funeral with the liveblog, too. The space was used as an information hub to share stories, like Mandela’s fashion sense, the social posts around the funeral and the words spoken in memory of Mandela.


Xaver Storm by SHZ

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Last week violent storms swept across parts of Northern Europe. One region that was affected was Schleswig-Holstein, a state in northern Germany and home to the regional newspaper Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag (SHZ). Their journalists did an impressive job keeping their readers, who were directly affected by the storm, informed of everything that was going on. Moreover, the audience didn’t play a purely passive role – they were commenting, sending their own pictures and communicating directly with editors. What really made this event stand out is their amazing use of the Scribble Market. SHZ is a small regional newspaper, but it had journalists reporting on the ground. When it put the event in the Scribble Market, it received pickup. That instinctive use of the Market is a testament to the fact that live syndication fulfils an important role in real-time newsrooms.


Snow by New York Daily News


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That’s right, winter is upon us! If the ubiquitous Christmas songs and the blocked nose/chesty cough adverts on the back of buses hadn’t made you realise that, then the snow-inspired liveblogs surely will. People love talking and complaining about the weather, and they also love experiencing snow vicariously through others. The New York Daily News is making the most of that here. Its event is packed with New York snow-related content pulled from Twitter, Instagram and Vine – people in the snow, dogs in the snow, parks in the snow. One of the images added has the hashtag #winterporn, and that about sums it up nicely. Simple, but somehow hypnotic.


Uruguay Votes by El Observador 

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The small South American country wedged in between Argentina and Brazil is making waves around the globe – and this time it has nothing to do with football. This week, senators voted to make Uruguay the first country in the world to legalise the growing, sale and consumption of marijuana. Uruguayan daily El Observador told the story of the vote in real-time. Its journalists did a fantastic job of setting the context of the vote, linking out to relevant articles and pulling in video stories. What really enlivened the event was the debate that took place among its readers. The audience was encouraged to share their opinions, and it did, discussing the pros and cons as the debate in Senate took place. It was clear what the readers thought – 75% of those who voted in a poll said they wanted it to be legalised. It was closer run in the Senate, but in the end they passed it with 16 votes to 13. Historic.


Jingle Bell Ball by Capital FM

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Global Radio organises and end-of-year concert bringing together some of the biggest pop acts in the world. Its live event offered people who were listening at home the chance to get even closer to the action with behind-the-scenes pictures, videos and vines. Its feed was also filled with memes, snippets from social media and trivia that added another dimension to what they were listening to. Audience interaction was hugely important too and they engaged every way they could, liking posts, voting on polls and discussing with each other. An amazing example of how to add that little bit extra to your conference coverage. Jingle bells, indeed.

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