How to Live Blog Elections

How to Live Blog Elections

The 2020 US election is arguably one of the most anticipated and covered political events of the year.  Leading up to November 3rd when ballots are cast is a long list of events including rallies, speeches, and debates between not just the presidential candidates, but Senate elections as well. These live events are fast-paced, engaging, and their minute-by-minute format makes live blogs an excellent format for any news outlet wishing to cover them.

A global event

Far from being a US-only happening, the election’s outcome has far-reaching impact and therefore is highly and carefully covered by news outlets around the world.

One of these news outlets is Dagens Næringsliv, Norwegian Business Daily, a leading business newspaper in Norway. DN has a strong history of global news coverage and specifically of live blog coverage. 

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at how DN live blogs the US elections and what some of the main lessons and takeaways are. These insights will help anyone wishing to set up and maintain an engaging and traffic-generating election news feed.

DN’s 2020 US Election Coverage

Like most news outlets covering global events and politics, DN has for the last several months been building up a portfolio of articles about the upcoming election. These include both opinion pieces as well as traditional news articles and analysis of the spets leading up the main election day. 

DN's 2020 election coverage

DN’s 2020 election coverage

A key part of this coverage is their live election blog which serves as the most up-to-date source of developments, as well as a chronological summary of what is happening in the political landscape.

Updating in real-time, the live blog is the obvious choice for all of DN’s readers. Building on a strong history of live election coverage, including the 2017 Norwegian Parliamentary Election, the 2020 election live blog will reinforce the behavior or DN’s readers to visit their site for the latest election news. 

The Live Election Blog

Published on a dedicated site, free of both ads and the traditional article format, the election live blog is a reader-first coverage with some key features with the goal of building a strong reader base leading up to the election.

DN.no's 2020 US Election Live Blog

DN.no’s 2020 US Election Live Bloghttps://direkte.dn.no/usa-valget-2020

What we can learn from the live blog

Custom design that fits their brand 

The live blog is clearly in-line with DN’s overall brand and graphical profile and is easily recognized by their readers. Instead of using an out-of-the-box design that most live blog solutions provide, DN has applied their own design, by themselves without requiring help or input from the solution’s provider.

Not only does this give the user a more premium feeling, but it also reinforces their brand and adds quality to the coverage.

Customized design of DN's election live blog

Customized design of DN’s election live blog

Links to In-depth articles

Those in-depth articles DN has been curating over the last few months? They are effectively used in the live blog as cues for readers to continue reading more on their main page. 

Article links

Article links

This is important because these articles can be placed behind a paywall which can act as ways to convert readers into paying subscriber customers. 

It also keeps the readers on DN’s platform if they want to consume more content beyond the live feed.

Supports sharing specific posts from the live blog

Each post in the live feed can be individually linked to. When the URL to the post is shared and someone follows it, the specific posts will be populated at the top.

Link to a specific post in the new feed

Link to a specific post in the new feed

This can be used by readers to share posts they find especially interesting, or by journalists to link out to articles or other pieces of content.

Graphs and visualization

Text is great, but visualizations help readers consume faster and offer a more engaging experience.

DN has included graphs and visualization at the top of their news feed which shows up-to-date poll data about the election. This adds context for readers as the yread through posts in the live feed.

Graphs to create a more engaging coverage

Graphs to create a more engaging coverage

Mobile-friendly live blog format

We’re in 2020, and this means that any webpage must render flawlessly on mobile to become relevant and attract large amounts of traffic. Most readers of live blogs might visit it as they are commuting on the train, on traveling on the bus, or otherwise on the go on their mobile. DN’s live blog is carefully structured so as to both be easy to read on a smaller screen and be easy to scroll through and engage with.

Mobile-friendly feed

Mobile-friendly feed

“Read more” expansion on posts

Continuing on the mobile-friendliness, post longer than a certain length is collapsed to save space in the live feed. This creates a live blog that is easier to navigate through for a reader that wants to get up to speed on recent news. 

If a post is of particular interest, the reader can quickly click “Read more” to expand the post. Especially on mobile where screen real estate is limited, this is a key feature for any news feed.

Embed SoMe and any type of content

DN’s live blog allows them to add any type of rich content and social media. Automated tweets based on keywords of specific Twitter accounts, videos captured directly from an event, Facebook posts, images, etc. They have complete freedom to add any content they want knowing that it will render in the live blog without it breaking the design or feed layout.

Tweet included in the love blog

Tweet included in the love blog

DN’s live blogging tool for elections

Live Center, the solution DN uses to create their live election coverage has been used by leading news outlets across Europe. DR.dk, Archant Media, Focus WTV, and the Europea Parliament’s Directorate of Campaigns have all used Live Center during elections to provide their reader based with an intuitive and engaging experience. 

Additionally, Live Center is easy to use for journalists in the field: both on laptops and on mobile.

Live Center  for live blogging

Live Center for live blogging

If you want to give Live Center a try, we offer a 30-day free trial which will allow you to cover the entire remaining US election.