Being in the field is a unique opportunity to bring something special – such as live reporting. Find inspiration about what you can do and how to do it.
So you are in the field – and one of the ways you can really use the opportunity is to bring live reporting. Here are some handy tips on how to bring unique and valuable content ‘live’.
- Use a liveblog. You can cover events in real time if you autofeed tweets to a liveblog, and livetweet your commentary. Use a hashtag so readers can see the stream of tweets. (It’s polite to warn your followers that you’ll be livetweeting before you begin, so they can mute your posts if they’re not interested in the coverage.)
- Engage the public. You could add the hashtag to your autofeed if you want to include public tweets in your stream (with appropriate filters). Use Twitter to respond to questions and comments.
- Work in a team. For a large event, roles might include: shooting video to stream live; capturing photos and videos for posting to the liveblog; providing factual coverage; providing commentary; fact-checking; curating tweets from the public.
- Make the context clear. Explain the background and situation at the start, and provide regular refreshers for people who join your coverage partway through.
- Use your judgement. Provide description, commentary and analysis – not just a transcript or recording of events.
- Share links. If someone mentions a report, video or statistic, include the link to an online source in your feed.
- Use your own Twitter account. But promote the liveblog on branded social media accounts before and during the event, and retweet some key moments from the branded social accounts.
- Fact-check. If someone says something that you think might be inaccurate, report what they say but note that you will attempt to verify the accuracy, and provide an update when you can. You could even ask the public to help you check facts. If you make an error yourself or report someone else’s error, correct it quickly.
These tips draw on these resources – see the original articles for more detail and ideas:
- Cover it live: 20 tips for reporting from the scene by the International Journalists’ Network (link)
- Tips about live reporting from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (link)
- Tips for radio: (https://training.npr.org/audio/nprs-howard-berkes-the-fundamentals-of-field-reporting/)
- Resources on staying safe in the field: cjr.org and rsf.org (PDF)