Friday 1 October 2010

A live-blog: not a "finished product" but still a product

Adam Tinworth wrote a blog post in reply to my post yesterday about liveblogging.

I hope he won't mind me copying his post in full because it will make more sense and I think there are some interesting avenues of discussion which hadn't at all crossed my mind when I wrote my post:
"Daniel Bennet's posted some thoughts about the art of liveblogging. It's an interesting read but I would like to suggest that there's a false underlying assumption in the post. He seems to be assuming that a liveblog is, once the event is done, a finished product. And in my experience as a liveblogger, that not how it actually functions.

It's pretty rare that a live-blogger is the only source of coverage. When I'm live-blogging a conference, I'm usually part of an ecosystem of bloggers, both live and analytical, people who are tweeting what's being said, Twitter discussions, and then analytical posts that follow on from the liveblog. But that requires a viewpoint that sees all the coverage, not just the coverage on your own site. And not just that that appears on your own site. This is a viewpoint many in the traditional media seems to struggle to adapt to. :-)

In essence, a liveblog is not a finished product - it's the first step towards a record of the event, part of a large pool of raw material that will be collated, aggregated and analysed after the event.

It's all about the ecosystem..."
Earlier I commented on his blog in reply. But as he pointed out it might be better as a blog post so this is it:
"I have to admit I wasn't really thinking about the overall coverage of the event when I wrote the post, although it's probably a more interesting angle(!) and it certainly leads on from what I was saying.

I was rather narrowly looking at live-blogging from the perspective of somebody updating a blog and the challenges of doing the best job that they can. Which I think is still worth thinking about. Even if you are right to point out that a live-blogger is often one of many offering a raw representation of an event, surely, the eco-system will only benefit from some reflexive practice?

And, (although again I'm afraid I can't claim to have been thinking this at the time), I'd like to suggest that you could have used my paragraph about having more than one person to do a live-blog as evidence of an underlying assumption that coverage of an event is better as part of the ecosystem you discuss!

I don't think I was assuming that a live-blog is a "finished" product, but I think I was assuming that it is nevertheless a product.

If we look at things from The Guardian's point of view, surely they have to view a live-blog as a product (even if it's unfinished and part of a much wider record of events). Ideally, The Guardian needs people to turn to the rest of the ecosystem after they've read their live-blog or if they start elsewhere in the ecosystem subsequently come back to and hopefully stick with their live-blog.

Indeed, part of the aim of a Guardian live-blog is collating the ecosystem, (or at least creating the illusion of collating the ecosystem), as a response to the challenge that the ecosystem represents to their coverage of news and events. This also improves The Guardian's product.

So commercially, I think they do have to try to produce a live-blog as a quality product in order to be a key player in the ecosystem. Which is perhaps why it might be worth reflecting on how their live-blogs could be improved. Otherwise they risk becoming just a part of the rest of the ecosystem.

But I ramble on...I'll leave some space to the ecosystem :)


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