Liveblogging and beyond: Six examples of innovative digital real-time reporting

News sites are finding increasingly innovative ways to deliver real-time updates for breaking news stories. As readers have grown accustomed to live streams of news and information from Twitter feeds and Facebook updates, digital news providers have experimented and innovated with similar approaches. Liveblogs have evolved and become established as an alternative form of storytelling to the traditional inverted pyramid-style of reporting.

Here are five examples of live reporting worth highlighting. They are in no particular order.

1. BBC News – Olympic torch relay

Here is a multimedia approach to live reporting which includes a map that allows readers to track the olympic torch, watch video and keep up to date by following a live “stream” of text updates, tweets and photos displayed in a column on the right hand side of the page. The audience is invited to get involved by texting, tweeting and commenting on Facebook.

2. BBC Sport – Sportsday

BBC Sportsday provides sports fans with an overview of what is happening, a quick fix of Euro 2012, Wimbledon and athletics. The live page links to content from BBC 5 Live, more detailed reports and invites the audience to “get involved”, including tweets as part of the storytelling.

3. WSJ – Market Pulse

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal launched “WSJ streams”, a new platform for live rolling coverage of big news topics, which can include Facebook, Twitter and other social media content.

It used the the WordPress-powered interface to report the Oscars over four days, it has streamed the Euro crisis, and has also launched Market Pulse, for markets data.

The reader can dip in and out of the page without the need for reloading and also have the ability to choose which updates are displayed, selecting from bonds, commodities, currencies news, deals, investment banking and stocks.

4. ITV News – new site

ITV News has taken the “livestream” approach to its new website, which was relaunched three months ago. Reporters from across the 12 regions contribute to the reports, with an experienced web editor dragging and dropping tweets, photos and videos to tell the story as a stream rather than the traditional method of storytelling.

You can read 11 lessons from the ITV News livestream site for more details.

5. Al Jazeera – liveblogs

Al Jazeera has several long-running liveblogs, such as the ones on Bahrain, Syria and the Eurozone crisis. In addition to videos, agency copy, updates from Al Jazeera reporters, photos and links to other providers, the liveblogs can also be filtered by topic and date.

The homepage of the blogs section provides the latest updates on the different liveblogs, providing readers with an at-a-glance view.

6. MSN – best of now

MSN has been innovating in how it presents real-time news. It has created msnNOW  and displays social updates called “best of now” to the bottom of its MSN UK’s trending blogs.

The “social visualisations” (pictured below) are being used in a number of different ways. One example, which can be found underneath each of its trending blogs, are visualisations showing the top three stories MSN UK has written about, how popular they are and the key and trending phrases around that topic in real-time.

Another variation of this tool is a visualisation showing trending phrases and topics around a single story, with a visualisation placed underneath the Eurovision Contest liveblog.

  • The topic of live streams and real-time reporting is the focus for the final panel debate at news:rewired – full stream ahead. Sign up here to hear from Jason Mills, editor, web for ITV News; Raju Narisetti, managing editor, Wall Street Journal Digital Network; Patrick Heery, UK editor, BBC News website; Pete Clifton, executive editor, MSN.

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