By Cheryl Sadler
Prep sports writers at The News-Herald and The Morning Journal have been tweeting from football games and using designated hashtags — #nhfootball and #mjfootball — for the past couple of seasons. This year, I decided to aggregate the coverage in a way that readers who aren’t on Twitter — and those who don’t know about our Twitter presence — would be able to follow along with the live game coverage. I dubbed it “Friday Night Live.”
Each week, I built ScribbleLive events scheduled for Friday nights, set to pull in tweets from our staffers at the game plus anyone using the hashtags. The post pinned to the top of each live blog included the list of games we were staffing plus the hashtag readers could use to add their own coverage to the live blog. Additionally, the staff in the office would contribute by tweeting and retweeting scores and updates from high schools, athletic departments, sports media outside our staff and other vetted Twitter accounts (followers and community members we know and trust to give us good information).
The ScribbleLive events were embedded in blog posts with the same label, and a link to that label was added to the navigation of the websites. Any day of the week, a reader can see that we provide live coverage of Friday night football games, and know what page to bookmark to come back to it later.
The live coverage was incredibly easy to implement. I took a platform we already knew how to use to aggregate information we were already dispersing. Both elements are key to the success of the live coverage.
John Kampf, the primary user of The News-Herald prep sports Twitter account, @NHPreps, loves connecting with readers on Twitter.
“It’s encouraging to see how much fan interaction we have during the games — asking for specific players, other games that we might not be covering that we might have knowledge of, and just people who come to us as a primary news source for breaking news of high school games,” Kampf said.