In an era of rapidly evolving digital media, the landscape of news coverage is continuously reshaped by emerging technologies and shifting audience preferences. Live blogging, a long-standing staple of online journalism, stands at the forefront of this transformation.
In this blog post, we delve into the insights and perspectives shared by prominent news outlets like the BBC, SKY, and The Guardian on live news reporting and audience attraction.
From the enduring relevance of live blogging software to the integration of AI and the surprising role of TikTok in live video news coverage, we explore the dynamic landscape of modern journalism and its ability to engage diverse audiences while maintaining the essential human touch in storytelling.
According to the BBC, live blogging tools are more relevant than ever. Audiences expect a live blog format when significant events unfold. The BBC has diversified its live coverage, moving beyond traditional news events to cover a wide range of topics, such as the recent blue moon phenomenon, that included user-generated content such as photos and videos, making it a versatile and engaging live page.
Notably, live blogging has also seen increased engagement from younger audiences and keeps attracting audiences to their site.
The Guardian has been using live blogs for over two decades, starting with sports coverage back then and, in time, expanding into news. “A live blog is always going to be able to show you something you didn’t see during your previous visit” underlines the Guardian, emphasizing that using a live blog is still the most efficient way to tell a story for the newsroom.
Similarly, SKY recognizes the massive audience interest in live blogs for breaking news stories.
“When it’s at its best, live blogs enhance the whole newsroom” explains SKY, sharing that it leans on various teams within the newsroom such as a dedicated live-blogging team, graphics team, video team, data journalism, investigation teams as well as calling on specialist journalists for deeper explanations, to provide a fully comprehensive coverage.
SKY also enables its users to sort the newest and oldest post updates, catering to latecomers who may want to start reading the story from the beginning.
The success of live blogs demonstrates the ability of news publishers to be able to cater to an audience with a shorter attention span. Data indicates that live blogs in general seem to appeal to a broad audience, as the format enables them to provide quick updates and successfully engage a wide range of readers.
A recent research conducted by the American Press Institute found that younger generations often turn to TikTok for entertainment news, but still visit traditional news sources for more serious news.
Leveraging channels such as YouTube and TikTok, newspapers are continuously investing their efforts in live video news coverage. The BBC has seen a 40% increase in users watching live streams on their website since Q2 in 2023. The broadcaster turned to TikTok in 2022 and observed that viewers expected a live stream in relation to major events or occurrences, and noted high interest in its live streams ever since. Results also showed that their TikTok’s audience isn’t interested in light or celebrity-driven stories only.
“We do fewer stories on TikTok, so the balance is slightly different, but we see interest in global news as well as in politics,” the BBC shares.
The Guardian’s experience indicates similar results as more serious news content also find an audience on that platform. This suggests that news organizations can utilize TikTok for engagement and funnel users back to their page for more in-depth coverage. The challenge lies in converting TikTok followers into website or app users.
AI is certainly in everyone’s mouth this year as there has been a lot of discussion and apprehension around generative AI tools. How can AI be put to good use and what does it imply for the newsroom?
The BBC shares that it has been using semi-automated journalism in the past, for example during elections to rapidly boil data down for the constituency results.
Similarly, SKY indicates AI is used to group user-submitted questions and identify main topics of interest. While AI is a very helpful tool to classify quantitative data and may also aid in transcription or text summarizing, there remain important issues that prompt newspapers to use this technology with extreme caution.
“In terms of generative AI, one fundamental aspect is the issue of reliability, verification, and trust. Today we’re nowhere near being comfortable on having public-facing AI-generated content.”
Increasingly more news publications emphasize their commitment to transparency when considering using AI-generated news content or images. However, newspapers widely concur that human diligence will remain indispensable whenever AI is integrated into newsroom operations, whether it pertains to workflow processes or content generation.
While AI can automate certain aspects of sports blogging where data is concerned, the human touch remains essential for engaging audiences.
Sports blogs in particular require good storytelling, *very* human reactions to goals or game events, and most importantly a great engagement with readers. The BBC states that “one of the brilliant things of live sports blogs is that it’s very human”.
In the evolving landscape of digital news, the future of live blogging remains vibrant, according to insights from leading news outlets like the BBC, SKY, and The Guardian.
Live blogging platforms continues to be relevant, offering versatility in coverage and attracting a broad spectrum of audiences, including younger readers. Utilizing AI for enhanced user experiences and engagement is on the horizon, though caution is advised, particularly in terms of content generation.
TikTok’s role in serious news coverage is gaining traction, showing that even on the platform, audiences are interested in substantive content. While AI aids in various aspects of newsroom operations, the human touch remains irreplaceable in sports blogging and storytelling.
Ultimately, live blogging software remains a dynamic tool for news organizations, adapting to evolving audience preferences and technology.