Out with liveblogging, in with real-time content syndication

by Lillo Montalto Monella

It sounds like stating the obvious, but real-time journalism does evolve at an impressive pace: what yesterday was considered ‘innovative’ is now just the beginning of yet another game-changing revolution.

Liveblogging helped to pave the road. Today, another model has emerged as the true kingmaker of the media landscape: real-time content sharing.

It all moved really quickly, to be fair. Few years ago, The Huffington Post showed the world how a more collaborative, down-to-earth and ‘social’ approach (in a word, blogging) was the right way to go. Newsrooms slowly (and grumblingly) adapted to this bottom-up oriented media revolution.

Next thing we knew was that blogging was not enough anymore, and the whole world of media had suddenly to go live to keep up with the speed of this hectic world.

It was the birth of liveblogging, a real-time storytelling in which breaking news and in-depth analysis coexist; informal and authoritative tone smoothly blend and social media and crowd sourced reporting sustain the old-fashioned coverage as an inevitable crutch.

Despite in some cases part of the media industry still needs to give up on its anal obsession with Twitter – which shall be treated with respect, but also as the most dangerous competitor for its power of stealing the traffic away from news websites – editors seemed to have finally understood the need of bringing the discussion “back home,” where it belongs. Liveblogging platforms have been indeed the driving force of this intrepid shift

The obvious, following challenge for news editors was to amplify the brand reach of their own companies, placing them as authoritative sources for real-time reporting. Hence, the challenge was to understand how to make money out of real-time news.

This is what real-time content syndication comes down to.

Next Monday, Obama will officially take office for his second term as re-elected President. The Associated Press, which has experimented with real-time reporting for quite along time, will then take the chance to undertake one of the largest experiments of real-time content sharing in years.

For the first time, and thanks to multimedia live publishing platform ScribbleLive, it will offer minute-by-minute coverage of the public swearing-in, and share it in real time with both its network of wire subscribers and all ScribbleLive clients.

The latters will be able to syndicate (ie, to take advantage of) the content free of charge at the ScribbleLive marketplace.

As the press release for the event states, “the you-are-there report will capture the color and pageantry in words, photos, sound, video, interactive and graphics.”

As said, this takes liveblogging to the next level.

By picking up the free feed, small media outlets (or those without large financial capabilities) will be able to put their readers “in the middle of the historic scene as it unfolds” with almost no effort whatsoever.

Newsrooms will also be able to intersperse their own posts with those from AP within a single liveblog, giving it an exclusive, local flavor.

Narrations will merge in real-time across oceans, and every newsroom will have the opportunity to guide its readership through the complexity of the event (which, after all, is what we call quality story telling).

Editors of news website in not-English speaking countries will be able to preview the incoming syndicated stream; pick particular posts or elements of posts from a syndicated liveblog, write captions in different languages; and add extra context about the material being pulled in.

Sure thing is that storytelling standards will be revolutionized by the AP effort. As a matter of fact, the live coverage will include: political analysis from AP reporters; images from sixteen photographers on the frontline; HTML interactives; full video coverage; around-the-clock edits for international and domestic video products; radio unanchored coverage and, of course, live tweeting.

News narration at its finest.

Needless to say, marketing opportunity for AP in the aftermath of the event will be endless. Needless to say, many media outlets out there will look up at the AP example and follow the same path soon.

Real-time syndication is all about increasing the brand reach, creating new partnerships across countries (and thus new revenue opportunities) and increasing the audience.

During the last iPhone 5 Launch, Mashable and their team of writers created content in real-time from Tim Cook’s presentation in California. Through ScribbleLive marketplace, they were able to syndicate their coverage to over 80 properties around the world, amplifying their brand by 10 times. As ScribbleLive founder Michael de Monte once said, it is a Win-Win situation all around.

Things are moving fast in this real-time world. Journalism has never been so healthy, and opportunities are out there, just waiting to be picked.