Live blogging with Cover it Live

I’ve just finished live blogging a Commons debate on the impact of budget cuts to policing in the West Midlands and am most impressed by the user-friendly web tool Cover It Live.

Live blogging Commons debate on West Midlands police cuts

Here’s a step by step guide for anyone else who wants to give it a go.

  • We were covering a Westminster Hall debate and so the first step was to determine if there was a parliamentary feed and figure out how to get the download.
  • The default player is Windows Media Player, but when the feed didn’t pop up as expected I clicked on the link to the Silverlight player and it materialized immediately.
  • I logged into our existing Cover it Live account and clicked on “add a new event” which I typed into the box.
  • A window popped up containing html code to be copied and embedded in the website.
  • I copied the code but before I left the page I went to “additional options” and clicked on “add twitter feeds” and inserted our twitter user name as well as our hashtag #brumcuts into the appropriate boxes.  Then I clicked “save” at the bottom of the page and went to our website.
  • I opened a new post, changed the view from “compose” to “add html” and embedded the code I copied into the post.  I went back to “compose” and added a preface, headline and photograph and then published.
  • I then went back to the Cover It Live page and when the debate began, I clicked “Launch Event Now!’  and a box with popped up where I could insert content and then hit send.
  • The biggest challenge was multitasking because I was listening to a live debate, synthesizing the information, living blogging and tweeting at the same time, as well as periodically checking the website and my twitter stream to make sure it was all working properly.  I soon found a rhythm by live blogging frequently for people following on the site and tweeting highlights periodically.
  • Where the coverage fell down was in my inability to identify every single MP who was contributing to the debate and having to resort to “opposition MP” and “government MP”.  There were no supers on the feed and being new to Birmingham I had equipped myself in advance with a cheat sheet of names and constituencies but it should have included photos.
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