21 November 2008

Event Coverage Secret – ‘Train & Train Again’

A digital editor claims the secret to successful events coverage online is training, with lots of preparation and practice thrown in for good measure.

Mike Noe from the Rocky Mountain News says web reports from this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver were effective because staff were well trained and well prepared.

Writing on Online Journalism Review, Noe notes that planning started last year when the newspaper bought mobile phones for several journalists so they could shoot video and take pictures for the website.

Then in spring 2008 the News began holding training sessions for its journalists filing short news updates to the website.

“By the time the convention rolled around, everyone in the newsroom - including editors and the copy desk - had been trained,” says Noe.

He adds: “For more substantive news accounts, we trained our staff to file directly into the Ellington system using laptops with air cards.”

Staff were also given time to become accustomed to using the microblogging tool Twitter after the News decided that would be the tool of choice for posting updates.

“Our first attempts at Twitter were rough,” admits Noe, adding that the key is to “train, practice and train again”.

He also advises newspapers to ensure journalists and photographers are familiar with the technology before the event.

“We picked events leading up to the convention to get them used to the phones, cameras or laptops they would be using.

“You want technology to be second-nature when the big event begins.”

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