Monday, May 21, 2012

How To Host Successful Live Chats And Live Blogs (Digital Ninja School Session with Mandy Jenkins)

In this day and age, it's a piece of cake to host your very own live chat or report live from an event that thousands of people from all over the world can watch and participate in. All you need is a free tool like CoverItLive or a Twitter account. But how do you actually get people to join in and participate, or care?

For the journalists out there cutting their digital teeth in live coverage and live chats, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the basics to hosting successful and engaging live chats and live blogs.

Mandy Jenkins of Digital First Media will be leading a workshop in the New Haven Register newsroom for the Journal Register Company's Digital Ninja program in Connecticut on live chats and live blogging. And for you meta fans out there, yes, I'll moderate a live chat while it's going on.

Update: This session has concluded. Replay the live chat below. Video replay will be uploaded later this week.

Jenkins will lead reporters, editors and photographers from JRC's CT newsrooms in a discussion on best practices for hosting highly engaged live blogs and live chats with readers. The session is part of our program to equip our journalists and editors with today's digital skills.

Mandy Jenkins of Digital First Media (Photo/Jay Westcott)
Jenkins' blog is a great (and easy to follow) resource for journalists trying to figure out how best to tap into the latest social media and crowdsourcing tools available on the net.

The video console below will stream Mandy's session from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. so followers can see and hear the session for themselves. It will be replaced by a recorded version afterwards.

For all you meta fans out there, I will moderate a live chat during her presentation on live chats so that other followers and bloggers can chime in with advice, experience, examples or questions of their own. Staff from other Digital First Media newsrooms, start-up bloggers, or anyone with a general interest in the topic is invited to join us.

Two more sessions are scheduled with Mandy in New Haven on Wednesday, including a session on crowdsourcing tips and tools. I'll post more details on the other sessions right here on DMP.

Please note: Video player will only be live during scheduled time of 3 - 4 p.m., Eastern Time.

Some areas our journos said they hope to get out of the session with Jenkins
  • How to grow audience: Over past two-plus years have done more than 100 chats and live blogs, and often struggle to get 20 viewers. We've had guests, we've used consistent times, changed times, used print and social media to promote, starting with tweets hours before, hour before, 10 minutes before, starting now.
  • I have only done minimal live chats/blogging and would like to know more about what tools/applications there are for this and how to go about it.
  • I want to become more skilled at live chats and live blogging. Not really sure of the basics of live blogging...what the technology is.
  • I would like to find out how I can get more readers on a live blog when I am covering a sports game. I would like to expand my horizons as much as possible in this area.
  • Hope for tips on how best to promote these events!
  • How best to make them relevant, gain audience, participation.
  • How to get better engagement with people, rather than giving them play-by-plays.
  • What is best - commentary or straight up reporting?
  • I'd like more ideas about reaching an audience and the benefits of doing live chats.
  • I am interested in best practices and how best to engage readers.

Examples of recent live chats and live blogs we've hosted in JRC Connecticut

Extra Credit: More on live blogs and live chats from Jenkins' Zombie Journalism

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