So, when I found out I’d be liveblogging the 2010 election for Blog Preston, a few words zipped through my brain.
Excitement. Anticipation. Anxiety.
Myself and 3 others set down our laptops at 10pm on Thursday night, and didn’t pack up until 5 am the next morning. Those seven hours were made up of frantic typing, filming, photography and a whole host of other useful tools.
The main minute by minute coverage was provided by the Cover It Live software, as well as tweeting observations (some serious, some less so) from the counting floor. The feedback we got confirmed that we weren’t simply broadcasting into the ether. We managed to hold a captive audience, interact with people both via user comments and using the #preston10 hashtag, while providing a good balance of serious analysis and observation.
The thing that struck me was the simplicity of all this. Ostensibly, we were just 4 young men with laptops. We didn’t have any professional equipment (Dave Stubbings’ camera was about as hi-tech as it got), but by assigning clearly defined roles that played to each of our strengths, we were able to produce a professional account of the evening’s events.
I’m a recent convert to the world of smartphones, but my HTC Legend did me proud. For the evening, it provided me with a great deal of nifty applications in order to enhance the liveblog. I used it to capture Audioboo recordings and Qik videos. Neither were of a professional quality, but that wasn’t the point. The point was we were able to produce informal, insightful interviews with candidates, and instantly upload them. It’s no exaggeration to say that after I’d finished filming a short clip, it would be automatically uploaded via my phone by the time I’d crossed the room and sat down at my laptop.
#preston10 Big commotion in guild hall followed by lingering silence and deflation. Like when Oasis released Definitely Maybe.
Readers of this blog will understand that I value writing verve and development over most other things. However, our successful coverage proved that by familiarising oneself with new technology, almost anyone can do this stuff. Doing the thing we loved coupled with a healthy dose of self-deprecation resulted in a consistently contemporaneous form of journalism that was both informative as it was inclusive.
Our aim was to paint a picture for the people who weren’t there, and make them feel like they were standing in the corner of the Guild Hall overseeing the count.
If this comment by BBC Introducing’s Sean McGinty is anything to go by, I think we succeeded:
@blogpreston were immense last night. Great commitment to local journalism… Proving it has a great future if new tech is used wiv passion