ARTS AND IDEAS Breaking news reporting
The live coverage format, which allows journalists to share the news as they learn it, has become a familiar tool at The Times for reporting big events. So far this year, the newsroom has published more than 800 live stories.
Front-page news events are obvious candidates for live coverage. But The Times has offered live coverage of the Grammy Awards, the National Spelling Bee, the Olympics, even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“Anything people want to know information about immediately is a good fit,” Traci Carl, a deputy editor on the Live team, told Times Insider.
The Times mainly uses two types of live formats. A fast-moving blog, which allows for short comments by reporters interspersed with concise reported items, a format used for the Derek Chauvin trial and the Emmy Awards. Briefings, which have an index of their entries at the top, “are more of a synthesis of a big story, a little higher altitude,” Marc Lacey, an assistant managing editor who leads the Live team, said.
“A blog is like a fire hose of news,” Melissa Hoppert, a deputy editor for the team, said. “A briefing is a curated experience with takeaways at the top: Here’s what you need to know if you read only one thing on the subject all day.”
The reader demand for live coverage, especially the coronavirus briefing, which started on Jan. 23, 2020, and recently surpassed 900 million page views, led The Times to create the Live team.
Producing the daily live briefings requires collaboration among dozens of editors, reporters and researchers around the world: The coronavirus briefing, for instance, is a 24-hour relay involving multiple time zones and three hubs: in Seoul, London and New York.