The summer season equals to festival season in many countries across the world. These events provide excellent opportunities for local newspapers to publish stories around the happenings through a live blog. Yet, as with everything, good preparation is key to live to cover the event smoothly and take out stress from the equation – or, to some extent, at least.
Here are a few tips and tricks, as well as insights straight from journalists, for optimal event coverage in the field
There’s a proverb saying: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Like most things, good preparation plays a key role even for reporters when it comes to live covering an event, regardless of the event type.
Due to its dynamic and interactive nature, a festival or live event is best covered through a live blog, which allows content creators to provide real-time updates in short and light format, while enhancing posts with various media contents (most commonly pictures, videos, and social media post integrations), all in one place.
Aside from this, it is also highly recommended to get familiar with the event schedule, key participants, and locations beforehand. Creating a checklist of essential equipment is also extremely helpful. You can also find a wide range of great practical tips for reporting from the scene here, but in this blog post, we will mainly focus on the live blogging aspect.
One way to start things off is to create a live blog before the festival to inform attendees on practical aspects such as background information, historical context, weather forecast, location access guidance, and even waiting queues. This is a great way to set the scene and build anticipation amongst attendees.
Once the festival starts, news publishers can consider switching to a new live blog to cover the live event.
If you are going to offer an interactive feature in your live blog, such as reader commenting or Q&A, to encourage participation, it is a good idea to have one dedicated team member in the studio who can monitor comments and reply to any incoming questions.
On average, creating a short-form post requires 5 minutes of editing, even up to 10 minutes. With this in mind, it is recommended that journalists draft some posts ahead of the live event right in the live blog editing interface. Content that can be drafted in advance could include background information or facts about performing artists, relevant statistics, anecdotes, or expert opinions.
These posts can then be released as is or edited during the event by adding captured pictures or short videos before publishing them live.
During the festival, editors are primarily in the field and rely on their mobile phones to post text content, photos, or videos, aiming at short but frequent updates rather than long posts.
Yet mobile experiences haven’t always been smooth ones and can quickly escalate to nightmare scenarios when adding time pressure, noisy and pushy surroundings, and sporadic wifi coverage, which might affect picture or video up-/ downloads speed, live feed push loading times, and so forth.
Many things can go wrong, which is why it is even more important that the live blogging platform is mobile-friendly and easy to use. Make sure you have all the
necessary tools in place to start live blogging!
Use social media:
Utilize social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to provide real-time updates, photos, and videos. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and questions, and consider using event-specific hashtags to increase your reach.
Capture compelling visuals: Take high-quality photographs and record videos that capture the energy and essence of the event. As always, visual content is highly engaging and can enhance your coverage.
Conduct interviews: It’s always a valuable addition to getting an interview with one of the performers or organizers. Prepare thoughtful questions in advance to elicit insightful responses. Consider using a portable audio recorder or smartphone app to ensure clear and high-quality recordings.
Interact with the audience face-to-face and online: Encourage audience participation by soliciting questions, feedback, and personal experiences, either by interviewing them in the field or by encouraging online comments or responses on your live blog to foster engagement and a sense of community.
A critical aspect of live coverage from the field is quick thinking, adaptability, and the ability to capture the essence of the event in real time. We hope these tips will help you provide engaging and informative coverage that keeps your audience informed and engaged.
And if you’re looking for a live blogging platform, look no further! Try Live Center today.