Archive for April 17th, 2009

I’m sure my new job title sounds like a gimmick to most people. Actually, it’s kind of a wiki.

When Chuck Peters announced my new title in February as information content conductor, it attracted some curiosity and scorn (as well as some praise). I explained it on three levels: musical, railroad and electrical.

As I’ve continued to explain it to curious people, they have added deeper meaning on all three levels:

  • Someone I unfortunately can’t recall (remind me if that’s you and I will credit) noted that in addition to my explanation that a musical conductor orchestrates the work of creative people, the conductor assigns them to roles such as first chair and second chair. The orchestration is not just rehearsing and waving a baton. It’s evaluating abilities and assigning roles.
  • Someone else (unfortunately, I’m only one for three in the credit department today) elaborated on my railroad explanation, which was that the conductor interacts with the public to give them an orderly and satisfying experience. This other person noted that a conductor helps people get where they want to go. In the often-confusing digital world, that may be the most important role.
  • Finally, I can give credit for the third way that others have enhanced my insights about my new title and role. After Chuck made a presentation on our new C3 concept and plans, he got an email from Dan Rogers, CEO of AdTrack. Rogers wrote: “When I first read about Steve Buttry’s new title, I understood the analogy of conducting an  orchestra.  But I also thought it was just as appropriate to think of Steve as a conductor of electricity such as copper or silver. Part of Steve’s job is to move electrons around in a way that makes sense, and to do it with as little friction and heat as possible — the critical elements of a good conductor.”

Again, I appreciate the insights that others offer to a job I am still working to understand and explain. And it’s entirely appropriate that that job and the explanation of it are becoming a wiki.

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I seek advice from journalists who have experience with or questions about liveblogging.

I will be leading a webinar on liveblogging for the American Society of News Editors next Tuesday, April 21. I seek the advice of editors whose staffs have liveblogged as well as journalists who have covered events live. You can provide your advice in the comments here or by email, but what I want most are some volunteers to provide advice during a live chat between about 2:30 and 3 p.m. Eastern time (1:30 and 2 p.m. here in Iowa) next Tuesday.

Here are some questions we will address. I appreciate your answers on any or all:

  1. Does liveblogging help or hinder your efforts to cover the same event in a story you write afterward, whether for print or online?
  2. Do you sometimes have one staff member liveblog and another write the story?
  3. How, if at all, do you interact with the public while liveblogging?
  4. Do you use CoverItLive, another program designed for live coverage, or just update in your regular blog or news?
  5. Do you use Twitter to liveblog? If so, please tell how that works?
  6. How do you handle matters such as accuracy and fairness when you liveblog?
  7. Has liveblogging caused any problems for you relating to credential restrictions at sporting events?
  8. Have judges allowed or forbidden you from liveblogging in court?
  9. If you have conducted live chats with the public, how have you done that and how did it work out?
  10. What has been your most successful use of liveblogging?
  11. What sort of traffic have you gotten to liveblogs? Do you know how long people remain engaged?
  12. What has been your biggest problem with liveblogging?
  13. What other tips would you offer to journalists who liveblog or to newsroom leaders planning to increase their staff’s use of liveblogging?

I will provide an updated version of the handout I used for some workshops last fall and the slides I used for a webinar for the Canadian Newspaper Association in February. I welcome your suggestions for either of those (and, of course, I will credit you).

If you are using visual content effectively in liveblogging, either posting photos along with the running text or streaming video along with it, I appreciate your advice on visual issues as well.

Last request: Please send me links to examples of liveblogs, whether you were the journalist who produced it or just enjoyed it as a consumer. I will use the examples in Tuesday’s webinar. I have lots of examples from Gazette staffers (as well as some others I’ve collected), but I would like to show off the work of more liveblogging journalists.

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