Live Journalism – As Opposed To What?

Posted by on August 20, 2015

It looks like The New York Times has dubbed a new term: live journalism.

Live journalism is this: editors moderating panels at conferences, interviewing executives on stage and steering the conversation to provocative and relevant issues. These conversations, and the news generated by the talks, are posted on the New York Times’ site. Clearly the reason The Times is getting into the game is because they are beginning to realize what we at UBM Tech already know: building up a conference business can be a lucrative venture, especially at scale.

I have two reactions to this blog. 1. What took them so long?  2. It doesn’t go far enough.

According to their definition, we have been doing “live journalism” for years.  In fact, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t moderating panels or covering events. The Times article talks about ethics, journalistic guidelines and the need to delineate sponsored content. These issues are spot on. It falls  short, however, because it doesn’t put journalists at the center of the conversation. The Times views this through a traditional media lens where journalists are still observers, asking the questions and pushing out the answers.

What I don’t see in this blog are journalists who are in the middle of the conversation, using their expertise and contacts to create the best live experience possible. Today our editors are building out our event tracks—leveraging the traffic and engagement analytics we get from our sites as well as their interaction with readers and industry watchers. We are recruiting experts, building sessions and reporting on what is happening in the industry and at the event. Journalists might moderate a panel here and there but there is so much more.

Ultimately the customer — reader and/or attendee — is the judge. It is our job to leverage and listen to what our customers want to create the best content, whether it be the written word, a video, an event track or an interactive session.

Live journalism is about living, breathing people creating memorable experiences at an event or on an interactive online platform.