Posts Tagged ‘SAFC’

This blog has suffered of late. Blame the football transfer window.

I’ve devoted a pile of time in and outside work to pulling together a transfer deadline day service which will provide great experience for students and great coverage for sunderlandecho.com and many other Johnston Press sites – if it all goes off as planned.

Sessions with students to brief them on Coveritlive and the brand values of JP, meetings with lecturers to sort out turning part of the Media Centre at the University of Sunderland into a live newsroom, hours on Facebook and email enthusing students and sorting out incentives to contribute – right down to the sausage sandwiches we’ll take delivery of at noon… It’s been hectic.

Add to that the more onerous task of selling the project to my colleagues at JP and providing them with an affiliate pack including everything from web buttons to print ads, animated skyscrapers for their site to editorial penned by my excellent intern David Allison. Thankfully my pitch has worked – with the likes of the Yorkshire Evening pst, Yorkshire Post, Lancashire Evening Post, Portsmouth News, Belfast Newsletter and many more taking our content.

As a result all eyes are on us. JP’s head of digital content will be there, Sunderland Echo editor Rob Lawson is popping in… All of which ups the stakes and reinforces what a good opportunity this is for the students, I hope.

To be honest, it’s all a bit nerve-wracking. The pressure is largely self-imposed as the groundwork has been done and we did a great job last year when it was just David and I sweating in a room with 2,700 user comments pinging at us.  But we’re on the eve of d-day now and things are pretty much out of my hands. It’s now down to how many students turn up tomorrow at 7.45am for what could be an incredibly busy, and incredibly rewarding, day. And, no, I’m not just talking about the sausage sarnies.

What can possibly go wrong?

>> Transfer deadline day live

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There’s nothing wrong with the two-blokes-and-a-mic raw feel of some podcasts, especially if your resources are limited. But in looking for quick wins to spice up our Box 19 Sunderland football show we’ve nicked a simple technique to make our recording as interactive as possible.

As well as using forum and email comments to bring the listeners’ voice into the conversation, for episode 13 of the podcast we tweeted live from the recording using Tweetdeck on iPhone. A PC with a net connection would do the same job if you’re based in the office or have WiFi capabilities.

>> Box 19, episode 13 (First tweet is about 6m30secs in)

We flagged the experiment by setting up a box19 twitter account and  contacted competition entrants and other emailers from around the world to tell them when we’d be recording the show. We even included a handy timezone guide so our pals in North America and Down Under could set their alarm clocks or take a break from watching their version of the X Factor respectively.

As a result we had a handful of fans following the show ‘live’ and throwing in questions for our panelists. Definitely a great way to break up the chat and engage the audience.

Ok, so it was a no-brainer. Who cares?Steven Taylor models Newcastle United's new change strip which has been dubbed 'Toongerine orange'

Newcastle United’s change strip was unveiled and it looked like something an Oompa Loompa would use to wipe his backside. I work for the Sunderland Echo. What could we do other than mercilessly take the proverbial? Continue Reading »

They’re hardly new, but the power of live web chats for connecting with audiences, driving interaction and pulling in traffic should make them a staple for any digital newsroom. Best of all, with CoverItLive they are incredibly easy to set up – just log on to their site, register for a free account and place the embed code they provide on a blank custom page… You even get a chance to practice with the tool before going live.

At the Sunderland Echo we’ve used live text chats before to cover the Budget, for instance – with limited success in terms of participation. Near the climax of the 2008/09 football season we took the plunge with a footy chat, despite uncorroborated tales of dead air during similar offerings from rival titles in the north ea

Sunderland Echo live chat

Sunderland Echo live chat

st. The results suprised everyone in the office… Continue Reading »

Covering the Premier League with the Press Association Match Centre live text facilityHaving investigated whether any local papers are live blogging the Premier League I’ve only found one title that is doing so independently, and it seems they are operating outside the rules.

Under the terms of the tiered Dataco licence you can only update with three texts and nine images if you’ve signed a Level One agreement, and with nine texts and 15 images under their Level Two agreement. There are specific windows when you can publish these updates too. I’m not sure how vigorously these rules are enforced, mind… (For Dataco enquiries email accreditations@football-dataco.com or call 0207 864 9121)

Continue Reading »

I’ve not seen a live blog of a Premier League clash on a local newspaper site. Most of the live football coverage centres on lower league sides and the occasional FA Cup game.

To officially blog from a game you have to be mindful of the Dataco agreement which covers fixtures, results and reporting on England’s topflight.

But in the era of Twitter and Qik feeds to CoverItLive blogs, there must be a way to start a conversation with the readership of the Sunderland Echo around a specific game – even if it doesn’t mean presenting a traditional match report.

We could pay for a service such as the PA Match Centre to do it for us, or make infrequent updates throughout the game which would hardly constitute the kind of comprehensive coverage I’m looking for. Neither option is acceptable as a mechanism for engaging the audience (either due to prohibitive cost or our desire to maintain standards).

Scanning  the fixture list, Sunderland’s televised game at home to Portsmouth on May 18 and the ‘Survival Sunday’ on May 24 are musts for interactive coverage. The challenge is coming up with a solution that respects the licencing agreements without lurching into patchy reporting.

At the very least we should open a channel to fans who are watching the game anyway and want to discuss what they are seeing. Surely the Premier League haven’t signed a gagging order on pub-style banter yet…