Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cover it Live!

There is a lot going on here at the Daily Freeman today. Patti, a reporter at the Freeman is covering a Kingston murder case via Twitter and posting to Cover it Live.

Cover it Live is a real-time blogging program that allows people all over the world to get breaking news, receive updates, directly participate in Q&A's, and discuss local politics, television, speeches, etc. It provides a social space for discussion, debate, education, the spread of information, and amusement.

Every week, Ivan Lajara uses Cover it Live to conduct a discussion on different topics relating to the transition of journalism into the digital age. It is a very useful tool for journalists all over the place; so today I decided to see what it was all about.

After you sign up for a Cover it Live (CiL) account, you are directed to a console where you create, edit, and manage your event/discussion.

When you first create your event, there will be a place with codes for you to publish your discussion. You can copy and paste the URL or embed code to post the discussion on your website or blog. You can also e-mail it to people or tell people your hashtag if they want to immediately be put into your discussion.

As the "writer" or creator of the event, you have the control to insert audio, images, videos, etc. You also have control over everyone in your discussion and the comments they make.

There are some really cool things you can do with cover it live to make it more interactive. For example, you can create a poll for your contributors to take part it.

You click the "Polls and Interactive" tab on the left hand side and click which kind of tab you want from the drop-box. After you fill in the information click "Publish" and it will pop up on the screen that your audience is looking at.

As the writer of the event, you can go to the "Media Library" tab on the left hand side of the screen. All the way at the bottom there is a "Media Uploader" button. When you click on that, CiL allows you to upload images, audio, videos, links, etc to your discussion post.

When you click on a selected video from your Media Library,it video loads directly into the chat that everyone is viewing.

The same goes for images, audio, links, and any other kind of supplement.

If you are conducting a long discussion and need to leave your computer for a five minute break you can let your audience know by going to the "Tools" tab on the left hand side. You then click the 5th option down to select how many minutes you plan on being away from your computer.

A countdown then pops up into your CiL chat to allow viewers to know that you will be right back.

In Cover it Live, you act as your own editor and therefore control the comments coming from your audience. When somebody comments on your discussion it will pop up in the tab on the right side of your screen.

Once you read it, you then have the option to post, hold, block, or allow all comments from that user without permission. This gives you complete control over your discussion.

If you click on the "Twitter" tab on the left side of the screen and then click "Show/Edit Twitter Feeds" a screen will pop up that will allow you to enter twitter usernames or lists, as well as key words or hashtags.

Whenever those key users or lists and when someone uses those key words or hashtags, the comments will appear in your discussion. You can also search twitter and then post tweets from other people that have to do with your topic into your discussion for other people to view.

One more way to control the content that is being shown in your discussion is option to live edit.

This can also be found in the Tools tab on the left hand side of the screen. This allows you to edit or delete content that was shared by any commenter.

Private messages are useful for the writer of the discussion if he or she wishes to disclose information to a single person rather than the whole group of people.

This message appears in red and is only visible to the sender and receiver.

If you are discussing an election or a current news story that is being updated minute by minute and you need to get the attention of your audience, you can use the tool called News Flash that can be found on the left hand side underneath "News Flash and Scoreboard".

This appears where the poll results appear, at the bottom of the discussion and above the box where you type.

When your discussion is over, you simply go to "End Live Event" which is located underneath the "Tools" tab. and it will end the discussion and convert to replay mode so that it can be viewed after the live chat has ended.

One thing that I was not able to test out is having a live video stream in your discussion using UStream. Although I was not able to try it out I encourage others to take a took. Here is a tutorial on how to do it.

This was the result of my Practice Event;

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