We often see breaking news coming into its own on the internet — there is no better place for it — but sometimes it’s good to see the other side of the journalism world: the diary story.
Gordon Brown’s speech today at the Labour Party Conference, in Manchester, was dubbed the ’speech of his career’. Which is perhaps a step down from Obama’s ’speech of his life’. Life or career? There’s something rather British about the difference in semantics there. Anyway.
We all knew it was going to happen, so how did it play out across the ‘net?
Sky News Online rigged up their fun ‘CoverItLive‘ system which, it seemed, was specifically designed as some sort of vitriol bucket, catching every instance of Labour hate imaginable. ‘Cheryl’ was doing a cracking job of giving running commentary — but this was perhaps wasted. I — and everyone else in the UK — could just watch it live on the BBC’s iPlayer (or, indeed, Sky’s live player. But it was nowhere near the same quality as the Beeb’s). Maybe Sky should consider getting some experts in to participate with these live miniblogs. Guido Fawkes?
The BBC did their usual. And I’m glad they did. As the public-funded broadcaster, they need to just be a platform. No space for ridiculous, over-the-top and uninformed opinion a la Sky. As expected, the live coverage on the BBC News channel was tip top, a good, reliable live stream available online.
While we’re discussing the BBC, it became an ongoing gripe that they kept on suggesting that some of Brown’s comments were aimed at David Miliband. For a media organisation that is so intent on cutting out spin in politics, it seems odd to me that they insisted on towing that particular line.
Twitter was surprisingly quiet. Perhaps in a sign that the micro-blogging site hasn’t really come of age in the UK just yet, there were very few (according to Twitter’s search function) instances of ‘Gordon’, ‘Brown’ or ‘Labour’. I follow 138 people on Twitter, and often the people I followed appeared in the global feed. In the UK, at least, Twitter is a very small community, and should not be overestimated.
The Guardian had a great blogpost providing what they called ‘instant reaction’. Written by Andrew Sparrow — who bears an uncanny resemblence to David ‘Not running for leadership’ Miliband, look! — he didn’t make use of fancy-pants software like Sky, but instead just repeatedly edited a standard blog post with timed updates. It worked well. Special marks to Andrew for his interaction with his readers — it’s great to see a journalist dipping into the comments thread on his posts. It should happen a lot more often.
The Independent had no such web-focused coverage. Their leading piece is this monstrosity of an article that is impossible to read on a screen. I’m sure the article is very good, but at 2,281 words, it’s about 1,800 words too long.
The Times had this cool little word count thingy. A nice touch, but ultimately useless. It tells us nothing we don’t know already. Fun though. On a slightly unrelated note, it does feel like The Times’ site is looking a little dated these days, particularly their blogs.
The Telegraph. Speech coverage FAIL. What in God’s name is this? Quite possibly the most useless piece of video I have ever seen on a lead story. “We need to know what’s going on,” spouts the journalist in the piece. Yes we do. So why aren’t you telling us? We know what a journalist does, thanks. The Telegraph’s video is edited together like a crappy internal training video. Not what I’ve come to expect from one of the best producers of online video news in the UK. Utterly rubbish.
Let’s make this an awards ceremony.
The award for best coverage goes to: BBC
Now while they did nothing special online other than the usual, the live BBC News channel stream offered by far the best quality of broadcast and analysis.
The award for worst coverage goes to: The Telegraph
A un-related video and a one-man band blog do little to interest me. This is all about what the country thinks.
Experimentation award goes to: Sky News
If they can dip in some experts into their online chats, I think they’re onto a winner.
My personal thoughts on the speech…
I thought it was terrific. I’m no Labour supporter, but Gordon Brown did a mighty fine job out there today.