Live Blogging: The Benefits for Journalists

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

I just wrote an article for Poynter Online about reporters, page designers and journalism professors who believe live blogging makes them better storytellers — by teaching them to be better listeners, note takers and deadline writers.

While at the Nieman narrative journalism conference earlier this month, I live blogged for the first time. The experience led me to realize that live blogging can make us better journalists by teaching us to be better listeners, note takers and deadline writers.

When live blogging, I assumed the mentality of a reporter working on deadline. I wrote and reported simultaneously, acting as my own editor under a self-imposed deadline. I wanted my readers to feel as though they were at the conference, so I included all of the key points from the talks and provided links to stories referenced in handouts.

Though live blogging made it harder for me to focus on the visual components of the workshops I attended, I retained much more than if I had just sat and listened or took notes for my own use.

I tend to learn best through reading and writing, and so my mind often wanders if I don’t take notes during a seminar or workshop. I’ve found, though, that over the years, even note taking can become perfunctory. In the back of my mind, I know I can go back and read what I’ve written, so there is no immediate need to absorb and dissect my notes as I’m writing them.

I had to focus on my notes, however, when live blogging. The need to make them accurate, thorough and interesting was heightened because I would be sharing them with others and would have little time to edit them for grammar and accuracy.

Feel free to share your live blogging experiences or questions you have about live blogging in the feedback section of my Poynter article.