Earlier this week, I live-blogged an all-day symposium about women in journalism for journalism news and analysis site J-Source.ca. Save for a short lunch-and-mingle, I didn’t leave my computer for 8 straight hours.
How do you prepare for a full day of liveblogging? It helps to bring snacks. It also helps to have some support back in the office — in my case, when some minor yet time-sensitive requests came up over e-mail, I forwarded them to my colleague to deal with. It was also nice to know that, had any technical issues come up, I’d get an instant response from Scribble’s support desk. I’m happy to report that the only mishap was a dead battery during a session that was standing-room only. My fellow liveblogger from Ryerson student paper The Ryersonian dutifully stood throughout the entire event, balancing her laptop on an upraised knee. Me, I wasn’t so polite: I just asked the guy sitting next to the plug (nicely) if he’d give up his seat, in the name of live-blogging. He did. Thank you, random Ryerson student!
Aside from a few hand cramps, I found it fairly easy to blog all day — plus it was easier to pay attention though the 3 p.m. fatigue when I was constantly searching for quotables. I kept stealing little soundbites from my coverage and sending them out via Twitter with a link back to my blog. This helped ensure that the tweeps following the #womeninfield hashtag could stay in the conversation. As result, J-Source got lots of positive feedback throughout the day (egofood is important for livebloggers). On the day the Federal budget was released, “J-Source” was trending both nationally and in Toronto because of our live coverage (#womeninfield trended below us, and only in Toronto).
I noticed that some folks on Twitter, trying to cram thoughts into 140 characters were misquoting things the speakers were saying, or got their stats wrong (one quoted the number of global female news managers as “25%”, even though it was written as 20% on a blackboard. That number was then retweeted numerous times.)
After a day packed with amazing speakers and inspiring stories, I was thankful that my blog provided a typed transcript of my notes for the recap story I wrote the next day. Since I’d already distilled the most interesting bits for the blog, I was able to turn the story around quickly, so anyone searching for the conference could stumble across 10 pages packed with the advice, wit and candid examination of women’s issues from a group of Canada’s top women journalists.