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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Newspaper Association’

Guest-teaching at Northern Kentucky University, 2012

Guest-speaking at Northern Kentucky University, 2012

This continues a series on professional networking.

I don’t think I ever advertised my services as a journalism trainer. But my professional network brings business to me again and again.

I won’t try the same approach here as I used yesterday in explaining the value of my network in connecting me with new jobs, whether I was looking or not. I’ve had hundreds of training and consulting jobs since I decided to launch a side business of newsroom training in 1997, so I won’t detail the network role in all of them, as I did with full-time jobs. Instead, I’ll detail a few of the networking successes that have delivered multiple jobs.

Except for last year, when treatment for lymphoma took me off the road, I’ve made a five-figure second income most years since 2003 or so. I doubt if there was a single year when most of the gigs and most of the income didn’t come at least in part from network connections.

Though I really started in training as a continuing venture in 1997, my first gig was 12 years earlier at the St. Joseph News-Press and Gazette in Missouri. How that came about illustrated the importance of networking in such a pursuit: The St. Joe managing editor and Arnold Garson, my managing editor at the Des Moines Register, were at a meeting of the Associated Press Managing Editors together. The St. Joe editor mentioned to Arnie that he was interested in getting some newsroom training. Arnie thought I’d be good at that, so he dropped my name. I did well, and maintained the interest, though career opportunities took me in different directions for a while.

As my training career really took off in the early 2000s, networking provided opportunities time after time. Literally hundreds of opportunities came my way through my network. Here are how some of the major networking connections in my training career helped me: (more…)

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This is the handout for my liveblogging webinar presented for the Canadian Newspaper Association on Wednesday, Feb. 11. You can register online.

Newspapers originally responded to the opportunities of the web by posting print stories online after they appeared in print. Then we recognized the need to post news immediately to the web and started posting newspaper-like stories to the web quickly after an event occurred, perhaps following an immediate bulletin. Liveblogging is a story form for digital platforms, a blend of the styles and techniques of traditional newspaper-style reporting, radio play-by-play and the interactivity of blogging.

 How to liveblog

Liveblogging is a new writing technique, so you can develop your own style. Here are some approaches writers are using effectively:

Write a liveblog in short takes, each time-stamped and posted above the previous one. So a reader checking back for an update will see the freshest take at the top. Readers checking in for the first time midway through the event will need to scroll to the bottom and read up if they want to catch up.

Use CoverItLive or your blogging software to write in real time, answering questions and fielding comments from users as you write.

Individual takes can be short bursts of a sentence or two (if you’re Twittering, you get only 140 characters) or a few paragraphs, depending on the blogging software/platform and the story. Though each take will be part of a chain, try to make it a distinct link that adds a meaningful piece to the story.

For a big, breaking story involving multiple staff members, a single staff member can be assigned to liveblog as reporters file or call in information, just as a rewrite person sometimes pulls together a print story from multiple colleagues.

During a controlled event where you are able to write on a laptop or mobile device, you can use the liveblog as notes, recording every development or quote that you might want to consider for use in a story. A breaking event may not lend itself to continuous liveblogging. You can still file brief updates with major developments. Sometimes you will have down time, perhaps waiting for a press conference with emergency authorities. Use those down times to write longer updates with more details.

Space isn’t an issue in a liveblog. You may have just 12 inches for the print story, but be able to post dozens of entries ranging from a single sentence to a few paragraphs in the liveblog. This doesn’t mean anything goes. You still want to provide interesting reading. But some things that are interesting to someone who is following an event as it unfolds will not be as interesting or important in the summary of that event after it is finished.

A liveblog can be posted directly to the web by the writer or can be edited quickly first and posted by an editor. This requires advance coordination to have an editor ready to move the posts quickly.

Liveblogs of sporting events (sometimes called a “glog,” short for “game log”) build on the rich tradition of live radio and television coverage of sporting events. A sporting liveblog should use that traditional mix of play-by-play reporting with analysis and color. With CoverItLive, the glog can become a running conversation with fans watching on TV or at the game. 

Accuracy remains essential

Liveblogging requires a huge change in our usual standard of completeness. Each take is lacking something, however much you work to make it stand alone. However, you cannot relax your standard of accuracy. If you have reason to use information that you have not been able to verify as factual, attribute and ask the audience what they know about the topic. Ask sources where they got their information and include that explanation. If you have doubts about something, don’t post it yet. Even if someone in authority tells you something, seek opportunities to verify. Tell readers when you’re working to verify something.

 Consider your tone

 The tone of your liveblog must be appropriate to the story you are telling. An athletic event or a community festival can have a light tone that reflects the exciting or festive tone of the event. A liveblog of a contentious meeting or a murder trial should take a serious tone that reflects the event. However, a serious meeting might include a few light moments or humorous asides that wouldn’t fit into the print story (in space or tone) but that work well as individual takes in a liveblog that will turn more serious as the meeting does.

A columnist can share opinions in a liveblog the same as in print or in an opinion blog. A reporter generally should not use a liveblog as an outlet for opinion unless editors agree that opinion is appropriate. Exceptions could be discussed with the reporter’s editor in advance of liveblogging. For instance, a reporter who also writes a column or reviews could use a liveblog for those purposes.

Try some interaction

Seek information, reaction and questions from the audience as you liveblog. As you see something that might make a good lead for the print story, ask the audience whether they think that might be a good way to start your print story. (Even if you and they like the idea, the event’s not over and subsequent developments could move ahead of that first tentative lead, but that’s just another opportunity to seek feedback.)

If you hear someone make a claim that sounds doubtful to you, you might ask whether anyone in the audience has some information on that. Be careful not to express an opinion that someone is wrong; just ask the audience for information that would confirm or contradict: “I had not heard that before. If you have some information on that issue, I’d like to hear from you.”

Seek opinions from the audience. Again, avoid expressing your opinion unless you and your editor have agreed that opinion is appropriate in your liveblog. You can report what just happened or what someone just said and ask, “What do you think of that?” or “How do you think that will work?”

Benefits of liveblogging

Immediacy. A liveblog helps readers follow the action or dialogue at an event as it happens.

User loyalty. A liveblog helps establish your site as the place to go to get the news first.

Traffic. A news story that draws a reader’s attention gets a single page view. A liveblog that draws a reader’s attention gets multiple page views as the reader keeps coming back for updates.

Saving time. If you are covering an event such as a trial, meeting or sports contest, your liveblog can become a combination of your notes and even a rough draft of the story you write for the print edition. You may write your lead or some strong passages in the liveblog that you will be able to cut and paste into the print story. A critic watching a concert might liveblog each song in order, producing several of the paragraphs that would go into a print review. Even if the liveblog style is rougher and choppier than what you’ll want for a single story that flows nicely, you’ll be able to cut and paste some quotes and facts. (This advantage may not apply to a breaking story such as a crime, fire or disaster, where you are reporting more actively than at a controlled event. There you would have to pause from your reporting to liveblog, which may not always be possible.)

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This is the liveblog I’m going to use for a live chat during a webinar today (noon Eastern time, 11 a.m. Central) for the Canadian Newspaper Association. Register here.

Buttry liveblog demo

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