Cover It Live – free live blogging tool

July 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Journalists, Online, Other blogs

Cover It Live - free live blogging toolI just sat in on a live blog using Cover It Live.

James Mowery from Performancing was demonstrating how it works.

A lot of bloggers on mainstream news sites already do ‘live blogging’, often on a regular day and at a regular time, and this tool could make their lives a little easier. Even if not working with an already clunky CMS, managing a live blog can be difficult at the best of times.

I like the ability to embed the live discussion within a blog’s post page – or on any page – and then easily manage things from the Cover It Live interface. A three-pane view shows additional functions (like inserting a poll), the content box, and incoming comments.

The Media Library is a great tool.  You can permanently store content in folders (audio, video, images, polls, links, ads and prewritten text), then drag relevant content for a specific live blogging session into a prepared show folder.  (see demo)

The benefit of this is preparing a live blog with what you already plan to say and present.  Many mainstream media blogs don’t really provide the functionality or interactivity of an actual live conversation.  A blog post is made, and then the live blogger takes and responds to comments, with no real further addition to their initial post it is essentially a statement up for discussion.  With Cover It Live, that can be spread out in real time, inviting more interactivity.

Image function could be improved.  During the live blog session you can  post images or video that the participants will be able to open and watch.  The way Cover It Live works, images at this stage can’t be too detailed as it looks like they’re restricted to about 330 x 220 px.   A full screenshot, for example, is difficult to view, whereas a portrait image of a person comes out looking fine.  In image selection, general web thumbnail standards should apply – crop tight.

Different templates can also be created that will show your branding before the blog goes live, while in progress, and once the live blog session has ended.

Cover It Live is probably best served covering a live event, and that was probably its intent.  I can see the downside for mainstream news bloggers who take the statement-response approach would be that newcomers to the conversation have to try and catch up with what has already been said.

On the standard static screen, they can at least read all the other comments and responses, easily, before choosing to engage themselves.
The live blog I sat in on, including a review of Cover It Live:
http://performancing.com/blogging/its-kinda-regular-blogging-its-live

And a review focused on live blogging news events using Cover It Live:
http://www.beatblogging.org/blog/2008/02/chating-live-wi.html

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