[This write-up includes experiences of live webcasting/live blogging two events in Nepal and a brief review of two most popular live blogging web services – Coveritlive and ScribbleLive.]
Webcast: a conjunction of website broadcast, information dispersed to a large audience via the Internet which could include streaming audio, streaming video, visual aids or live demonstrations.
Live blog (also liveblog): A blog or blog entry that is updated in real time during a particular event.
Live blogging (also liveblogging): The act of writing text and/or uploading photos and/or integrating video/audio for the live blog.
* * *
On April 24, 2010, online teams of nagariknews.com and myrepublica.com ran a live webcast/blog for the Nagarik Republica Summit that marked the first anniversary of their two mainstream publications – Republica and Nagarik dailies.
There were photos, video and text for the program held at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza that ran for three hours available at both news website live.
This was the first time that a mainstream media’s website ran live webcast/blog although the bloggers in Nepal had already played with live blogging/webcast in the past.
On April 28, 2010, the team ran similar live webcast/blog for the Decisive Debate on National Consensus for Peace and Constitution from Hotel Yak & Yeti. It was a moderated debate of nine top leaders (three each from Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress). The webcast carried video while the live blog carried text (and a few photos).
* * *
The final verdict of three of us involved more in the live webcast/blog (Krishna Dhungana of TGuff, Umesh Shrestha of MySansar and me): Live blogging/webcasting is not an easy job [unless you have a team supporting from behind].
The first event was comparatively easier because it was an in-house organization and we could get what we wanted along with a big table and fast internet. Soaltee Hotel proved a good internet service provider as they used Docomo services which were reliable and fast. And, we had a hoard of people [Rishikesh Dahal, Ashok Thapa, Bipulendra Adhikari, Mani Dahal and photojournalist Bikash Karki] around us to help us in any difficulty.
Second event was difficult. It was a closed invitation only event and the organizer Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), after much convincing, only provided three passes and the live bloggers (Krishna and me) had to stay separately near the audio system on the side of the stage while Umesh, who was on video along with Upendra Man Singh while also updating the blog and uploading photos, was kept on a corner on the back of the hall.
* * *
For a live webcast, we needed at least 1mbps internet; for live blog, slower worked fine (although we used 129kbps).
Coveritlive is a heavier but better for functionality [for it gives you scoring in sports event]. ScribbleLive is easier for it is light and customization is easier.
Both displays time for every blog and for us, both is not good – as CoveritLive gives an option to select time but it doesn’t have Kathmandu/Nepal time and ScribbleLive automatically inserts time which is Indian time for us.
Both have a good comment system [with ability to moderate], twitter integration and multimedia upload and use [though managing multimedia is easier in CiL while uploading is easier in ScribbeLive]. CiL lets uploading of multimedia content and use them when required while ScribbeLive inserts the uploaded media into live blog as soon as it gets uploaded and you cannot use same media repeatedly.
My final verdict: if you want simple live blogging solution to put on text/photos/videos, go for ScribbleLive. If you want more robust system for your live blog, CiL is better. For me, I will use CiL only if I am covering sports events live.
* * *
When I wrote live blogging is not easier, it meant for updating the live blog and strictly NOT for the technical part. Technical part is easier – with free services like CiL/ScribbleLive [and almost forgot, we used USTREAM for the live broadcasting of video] there to support.
Updating the text was a difficult [more if you are also doing translation as I did as both programs were on Nepali and I was live blogging in English – and our leaders rarely speak simple/complete sentences].
* * *
As Umesh put it on his blog, we did and we did successfully; and more importantly, our deed was historical because it was first of such type in Nepal. That’s gives immense pleasure to type with the aching fingers [due to non-stop typing for more than three hours in each of the programs].
And, thanks to Nepal Republic Media (our employer).