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Category Archives: In the News

Kate Middleton’s pregnancy: a liveblog too far?

Photo by Beretta/Sims / Rex Features (2015386l)

Photo by Beretta/Sims / Rex Features (2015386l)

Ten days ago the news of Kate Middleton’s pregnancy broke. Cue outpouring of joy across the nation, the creation of the #royalbaby hash tag on Twitter and…a liveblog by the Guardian?

Liveblogging is the newest craze in the newsroom, and is used to report breaking news and collect views on current events from social media. And they’re popular. Research by Neil Thurman shows that the Guardian’s liveblogs attract 300% more views than their conventional news articles. Perhaps that’s why they do so many of them.

Whatever the reason for its popularity, it now seems to be widely accepted that liveblogging is here to stay. Writing for Wannabe Hacks, George Berridge argues that student media should cover breaking news in this way because it’s a skill which will be needed in the newsroom. Yet another piece of technology which I need to get to grips with.

I’m not the most technologically incompetent person out there (that would be my father) but computers do tend to run screaming in the other direction when I approach them. So when we experiemnted with liveblogging a few weeks back it’s safe to say that it was not my favourite lesson. We used a website called Storify, and it hated me. It kept refusing to let me pull in links from Twitter, and given that this was a large part of what we were doing, this was something of a problem. But fellow MA journalist Alice and I did manage to create this liveblog on Athena, the winter storm which hit New York in the wake of Sandy. It’s not quite Guardian quality, but it’s not bad for a first attempt.

The next logical step is to pick up where the Guardian left off and liveblog Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. All nine months of it (or however many months we have left). Every hard-earned update from St. James’ Palace, every outburst of Twitter hysteria, perhaps some creepy photos created by mixing their faces and updates on how large their baby should be by now. If I were to go ahead with it, it might end with me being labelled a stalker, but it would be sure to be an Internet sensation.

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Leveson and the Internet

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Last Thursday, my fellow journalism students and I gathered around our computers to watch Lord Justice Leveson announce the results of his inquiry into the press. OK, we were actually in a lecture and had been told that we had to watch the announcement, but we were still interested.

I’m waiting to see what actually comes out of the report before I pass judgement on the majority of it (as what Leveson wants and what Cameron is prepared to give seem to be two very different things). But, as George Berridge wrote for Wannabe Hacks, the section on the internet is shocking in its brevity.

The total length of the Leveson report: 1000 pages. The proportion of that devoted to the internet: one page. Given that recently the internet community in general has been as badly behaved as the press, this seems nonsensical.

Ethics in newsrooms often leave much to be desired, that much is true. But were the Twitter users who wrongly named Lord McAlpine recently acting any more ethically? And should they be allowed to continue in the same vein while the mainstream press is regulated?

As a blogger, perhaps I should be pleased that my domain is being left well alone. But as a journalist-in-training, I’m not happy. Giving the internet free rein while constricting press freedom will only contribute to the decline of the print media. I’m not convinced that most of Leveson’s proposals should be implemented, but if they are they should apply to all, not just the newspapers.