Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Record's LIVE election coverage

We had great success in implementing different types of LIVE Election Day coverage at The Record on Nov. 8, 2011.

To start things off, on Monday, our City Editor, Jim Franco, held a live chat on his Talespin blog and on, inviting readers to come talk about politics on the night before polls opened.

That chat attracted 51 readers from 6 to 7 p.m. and a total of 216 comments sent between Jim and the various readers that participated. A replay of this chat is available at the end of this post.

On Election Day, we also setup a SeeClickFix widget on our homepage and encouraged readers to share any issues they ran into at polling locations around the area. While we didn't receive any reports this way, it was a great way to invite users to share information and I'm certain we'll use it again, especially going into the winter months.

Around 7 p.m., we live-streamed a video session with Jim Franco and local political experts from both major parties to discuss the election. The three were set up in front of webcam in our Community Media Lab and took questions from readers that were submitted through CoverItLive and displayed on a wall-mounted TV. This allowed them to easily read questions and comments as they came in and choose which ones to respond to on camera.

For being the first time we had done this type of live "show," I thought we had great results with 120 viewers of the video stream, 111 readers of the chat/question submission segment and a total of 93 comments sent over the hour. The topics varied over the show from who the panelists thought might win in each local race, to how local voter fraud issues might affect the races and what political party might control the city in the morning.

For some reason, the video broadcast but didn't record (may have been some user error there), so I can't post an embed of the video clip here. However, we thought it went so well I'm sure we'll do something similar again in the future.

After results started coming in around 9:30, we tweeted out the results as we got them and made sure to update readers when final numbers were entered or if a race would be decided by absentee ballots. For the biggest local races, we also made sure to utilize SMS and let our subscribers know which candidates claimed victory.

By the end of the night, we had all that was mentioned above, a slideshow of photos from both political camps as results came in, reaction videos with political candidates, and the first versions of most political stories on the website by just after midnight.

All in all, I considered the night a digital-first win for election coverage and can't wait to do it again next year.

Here are the live chats mentioned above:

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