Live Blogs, Sources, and Objectivity

The contradictions of real-time online reporting

Authored by: Neil Thurman , Aljosha Karim Schapals

The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138887961
eBook ISBN: 9781315713793
Adobe ISBN:


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On any given day, online news sites around the world are using live news pages or ‘live blogs’ to give their readers almost minute-by-minute updates on stories. The format is especially conspicuous during major breaking news events but is also used to cover sports matches, ongoing news topics, and scheduled news events such as elections or the Oscars. Live blogs make generous use of links; they mix facts with interpretation; and they are often informal in tone, involving conversations between reporters and between reporters and their readers. The format is a crucible for many of the contemporary developments in digital journalism practice. Indeed a BBC World News journalist interviewed for this chapter says that live blogs have “transformed the way we think about news, our sourcing, and everything” (personal communication, 16 September 2014). Are such transformations to be welcomed, how widespread are they, and just how different are live blogs from the more traditional news formats both online and offline? These are some of the questions we hope to address in our contribution to this handbook.

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