Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Real-Time Reporting Via Your Own Blog: Live Blogging Is Here With CoverItLive

Sponsored Links

If real time reporting on the Internet, via a blog or news site is what interests you, a new live reporting publishing platform makes the live blogging dream a reality. Thanks to CoverItLive it is finally possible to do live blogging in the most literal sense of the word. With the speed and ease of instant messaging but with the professional publication capabilities of a full blog, CoverItLive is a new great tool that integrates true real-time blogging with polls, commenting and multimedia integration.


Simple to use as a 'widget' but robust enough to host a blog for thousands of concurrent readers CoverItLive is indeed a revolutionary tool allowing sports newscaster, political events live reporters and other real-time commentators of any kind match their need for immediacy with a publishing tool that can keep up with their live and busy reporting flow.

Built with AJAX and hosted on a dedicated server network, CoveritLive provides live blogging, comments, video and audio posting, widget and embeddable objects integration, ads, polls and a bunch of other cool publishing features that will make real-time blogging the next online publishing frontier in 2008.

A live blogging example from La Repubblica - Italy most followed on-line newspaper



"CoveritLive's web based software takes your next live blog to a new level. Your commentary publishes in real time like an instant message.

A 'one-click' publishing approach lets you drop polls, videos, pictures, ads and audio clips as soon as they come to mind.

Comments and questions from your readers appear as soon as they are posted while leaving full control of what gets posted and what not into your hands."

Key Features

Instant Publishing


CoverItLive provides a true real-time blog publishing platform allowing you to write and post your notes as rapidly as you wish. Your stream of thoughts and commentary is kept intact, as a series of text messages in an instant messaging exchange. You can keep your individual news post as short as a few words or as long as a few paragraphs. But the real beauty of this is that as soon as you hit Publish, they go instantly live on yous site without any wait to save, rebuild or complete any other backend server operation. When you say publish with CoverItLive, it gets published instantly, in the truest sense of the word.

Real-time preview


While live blogging, you as the author see an exact preview of what gets published inside your site without needing to keep multiple windows open at the same time on your screen. This makes real-time blogging really effective as you can focus on the reporting and not on how things are getting published, as you your content being published right in front of your eyes.

Instantly Embeddable


Once you have created a live blog instance on CoverItLive, you can immediately copy and paste its "iframe" embed code inside a blog post or web article page and have your live reporting platform ready to go. The CoverItLive publishing component flexibly adapts to your blog site layout filling whatever space you make available to it.

Images, Video and Ads Support


At any time during your real-time reporting you can also integrate images, either as full content elements or as pop-ups that will show up as soon as you decide. The same applies applies to video clips and other graphic material which you can easily preload thanks to the well thought-out and easy-to-use media library. This is accessible directly from within your account section inside the CoverItLive web site.

Video and Image Search


An integrated video search feature allows you, without leaving the live blogging interface, to search for video and images on YouTube and Google Video. This makes it easy to find clips on the fly and to easily include them inside your live reporting.

Media Library


The Media Library inside CoverItLive is a very useful element in the overall "live blogging" workflow as it allows the reporter to prepare ahead of time support materials, content clips, images, as well as ads and sponsorships to be shown during the live reporting. By being able to organize these materials inside separate and properly labeled folders it is very easy during the actual live blogging session whatever materials may be needed to support or complement the real-time writing.

Voting - Polling


A fully functional polling facility makes it possible to start as many live polls during a session as you wish. You select the question and the possible answers and with one-click the poll goes live for all your readers to reply to. Dynamic stats show in real-time readers' responses and you decide when to close the incoming votes.

Discussion - Chat - Comments


Readers of your live blog can comment and provide text feedback at anytime. All comments are moderated by the live reporter allowing you to decide which specific comments go public and which not. The three small graphic icons next to each incoming comment allow you to publish, preview or delete in one-click any one comment.

Instant Replay Live Blog


Even after your live blogging event is over, the full live reporting experience can be brought back to life as the whole live blog remains accessible in all of its parts to all readers on your site. Just press the Start button on the recorded live blog and all of the content, links, video clips and images are made accessible again in the exact chronological order as they were first published.

No Software to Install

CoverItLive requires no software installation for the live blogger nor for the readers wanting to follow the full live blogging experience. For the publisher the only technical requirement is the copy and paste operation of each live blog created on CoverItLive inside an actual article or post on her site. Readers need nothing more than a simple browser to watch your live blog.

Live Blog Stats


Last but not least, CoverItLive collects and organizes for you viewership and interaction data from your real-time blog. Both during the live reporting as well as afterwards, when people watch the replay of your original live session, CoverItLive tracks page views, visitors, video clips played and ads shown.

Other Tools


CoverItLive integrates a few other tools and features that make real-time blog reporting even more effective. Among these I'd like to highlight the Be-Right-Back countdown clock which allows you to take a short break while leaving a dynamic digital countdown display inform the readers that there is a short break and that you are going to be back in the specified time. This is a nice extra touch that provides both a more professional outlook for the reporter as well as effectively solving a practical reality that is typical of live events.


Anoher great complementary tool is the reminder facility, which can be created when launching a new live blog, and which allows you to display a message like the above on your site. Not only this is a great way to pre-market and promote your upcoming real-time report but it also allows your own readers to set email reminders for themselves and to customize the advance notification date.

Setup and Configuration


Setup and configuration of your live blog(s) inside CoverItLive is a rather straightforward matter. You select a new live blog to be created, provide some specifics and meta-data for it, and in a matter of seconds you are ready to roll. CoverItLive provides you immediately with the embed iframe code to place inside your site or blog post and you are ready to roll.

One great and very useful thing about CoverItLive is that you can go and practice the live blogging platform without needing to start a real-time blog. A public practice area allows anyone to login in a "cloned" live blogging environment and to try out and experiment all functions and features available there.

Possibly the most relevant step to take in preparing for a real-time reporting session is the one of setting-up your media library with content and materials that you will want to use during your live blogging. CoverItLive has done a great job in designing a Media Library space that is both useful and very easy to use.

Areas for Improvement

Here are a few areas where CoverItLive shows some good opportunities for further improvement.

a) I have not found any easy way to delete news items already posted. Though it may be rare that one wants to do that, I think the reporter needs to maintain full control of all content at anytime.

b) When publishing a video clip from YouTube or other video sharing site, it would be great that the system automatically read the meta-data from the clip, including title, date, description and more and display it next to the clip.

c) Posted clips and images could be market by thumbnails in the recorded live blog instead of just text link references.

d) Social media integration has become a valuable and most inevitable necessity for anyone publishing online and having the opportunity to provide a rich personal profile, to reach out to other social networking communities, to promote and refer a live reporting session to key social bookmarking sites, to share and contribute content would certainly benefit also live reporting and those doing it.

For now CoverItLive has no hooks into the social media world, but being a publishing tool that perfectly integrates inside existing blog platforms it may just leverage your existing social media strategy to become in itself a full component of it.

e) A few bugs here and there clearly show that you are still looking at a Beta release and that you should expect a few things not to work exactly as advertised.

For example the YouTube and Google video search functionality did not behave on my PC as it did in the animated short tutorial, my video searches were conducted all on Google Video Canada no matter whether I chose to search on YouTube or Google.

f) The instant replay functionality could provide even greater value to the reader if there was an option offering to replay the live reporting as when it went live, that is by actually displaying each post chronologically and with the original timing. The reader could also choose to speed up such replay by 2x, 4x or more. I am sure that in some cases this would provide a much better user experience in trying to more closely re-create the original real-time reporting session.

g) Group reporting. I think that there are quite a few situations in which having the option to add in one or more concurrent news reporters, while having the ability to either mix in or show parallel threads in your live report could be a valuable and sought-after addition.

h) Media Library usability and accessibility. Accessing folders and items within them is not always as easy as it should be. The clickable area is not consistent and there is no visual feedback indicating the user whether something has been effectively clicked or not. Due also to a somewhat slow response of this facility during my several tests, I have felt frustrated several times when trying to access and display media library items during a live session.

Summary Review - Editor's Comments

CoverItLive is a great publishing tool for those looking to move ahead of the rest when it comes to execute or deliver a pro real-time reporting session on an event, conference session, sport match or TV debate.

Whatever the content focus, CoverItLive provides, at zero cost, the infrastructure needed to publish a stream of short news and commentary on a standard web site or blog page.

Ease of use, setup and configuration are a breeze even for non-technical users. A highly useful live practice area provides all that is needed to get familiar with the tool publishing features and controls.

Good documentation, a help area and plenty of short animated video tutorials make it very easy for the novice user to sign-up and find out how things work in a matter of minutes.

Having myself attempted a few times in the past to deliver real-time reports on live online sessions or events, I know for a fact that this is not easy, nor enjoyable when done with our familiar traditional blog or web site publishing tools. The need for the reader to refresh the page every little while or having to force systemic page refreshes to create the appearance of a real-time blog makes live blogging still an experimental task.

But having tried CoverItLive, I must honestly appreciate and praise the excellent work done by the team behind it, as it pushes the quality level of live blogging to a new height while opening this fascinating field to scores of new would-be live bloggers.

This is a great tool and probably the first in a series of many other new live blogging tools that will make their appearance in the coming months. For those interested in real-time reporting and live blogging I strongly recommend it.

Live Example of CoverItLive

This here below is a real, live implementation of the CoverItLive live blogging platform.

Learn More

  • CoverItLive - Try it now
  • CoverItLive Features

  • Pricing

    Free. From the site Pricing page:

    "CoveritLive can play a part in driving revenue to your site one day by helping build your readership base and engaging your readers for longer periods of time during your live blogs. If we can help with that, it probably means you'll be okay with paying to use the software or letting us place some ads to earn us some money.

    But we're getting ahead of ourselves. It doesn't matter if you're an international news organization with millions of readers, a blogger who covers college sports or a political activist with 37 loyal readers...

    CoveritLive costs nothing to use."

  • Help and Documentation

    Too bad that the CoverItLive help system is accessible only when you are a registered, logged in user. I think this is not a plus, as some novice, potential would be-users are positively going to check documentation and usage guidelines before signing up to it. On the other hand the help is rather good , especially thanks to the many short animated video tutorials covering almost any topic you may want to know more about.

  • Languages support
    CoverItLive software works with all languages including Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

  • Technical Requirements
    For writers of live blogs, CoveritLive supports only Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and Firefox 2.0 or higher. Older versions of these browsers and Safari are not supported and may not perform properly. For readers of your live blog, all browsers and version are supported.

Update - March 13th 2008

New Features Added

Quick Launch: If you are covering breaking news or just need to start live blogging ASAP, Quick Launch (in the My Account section) let's you launch a live blog immediately. Just paste the Viewer Window on your blog and start.

Panelist/Producer (multi-authored live blogging): As simple as sending an email to your Panelists (people who will ONLY write commentary) or Producers (people who can do everything you can do including approve reader comments and launch multimedia). Very useful for live blogs with big readership or for running a Q&A session.

'Always Allow' Reader Comments: Allow some reader comments to automatically publish without moderation. Great for trusted readers or new readers who have great insights to share with everyone else. This takes some of the burden off the writer of the live blog. A maximum of 10 readers can be classified as 'Always Allow' per live blog (because more than that, and the live blog will become unwatchable for all of the disjointed commentary).

Standby Mode: Instead of launching several different live blogs to cover multi-day or long events, users can now put their live blog into Standby Mode. This lets them take long breaks and disconnect, then come back any time within 48 hours to continue. While in Standby, their readers can catch up on what has happened so far. A great feature for conference attendees or 'all day sports' live blogs. When you combine this feature with the new Panelist feature, round the clock coverage becomes simple. Standby Mode will also automatically activate if a user has been disconnected for 30 consecutive minutes.

Edit Completed Live Blogs: Great for fixing typos or deleting unwanted entries. Go to My Account/Completed Live Blogs and clean up your completed live blog. All changes are immediately published in your Instant Replay.

Download Completed Live Blogs: For those who would rather store their live blogs locally, go to My Account/Completed Live Blogs and download your live blog for posting on your site.

Syndication: If you have other sites willing to 'carry' your live blog, simply give them the embed code (the code you paste on your site) to paste on theirs. This lets them keep their readers on their own site while opening up your live blog to a wider audience. Imagine sharing live blogs across a blog network or across multiple newspaper sites.

For the more technically oriented, CoverItLive has also made a switch on its technology platform moving away from an Ajax only solution to one that combines Ajax with some proprietary http streaming.

The result is CiL can now handle a tremendous number (hundreds of thousands...with more later) of simultaneous readers as opposed to some other alternatives that do not scale efficiently.

Next up for CoveritLive: Integration with your favorite blogging networks and software applications. More on that next time

Originally written by for Master New Media and titled "Real-Time Reporting Via Your Own Blog: Live Blogging Is Here With CoverItLive"

Readers' Comments    
2007-12-13 20:07:36


Ciao Robin, sei un grande, real time blog é fantastico, ho provato subito nel mio blog e spero di applicarlo anche domani per coprire una manifestazione nella mia cittá (Praia).

Grazie mille.

2007-12-13 10:40:58

Keith McSpurren

Thanks very much for taking the time to put the software through its paces. We've began getting attention around the world a few weeks ago but yours is by far the most comprehensive review thus far. Too many people stop at "it's a neat chat-like tool".
Although we came out of official Beta in mid-november, we do have some work to do to clean up the user experience as well as a healthy list of add-ons. You noted the larger ones:
'panel discussion' live blog: multiple authors at once. This can be accomplished now using a common username/password ( does this) but it's a bit of a hack. A true multi-writer live blog is a good thing.
Edit post live blog: this will be ready end of January at the latest
Integration with Social Media: the simplicity of the embedding into a blog/site/anything that allows html/i-frame pretty much makes us work anywhere. That said, there are better 'hooks' we can develop and likely, as we grow, partnerships to go further for the social networking world.
Replay: most are happy with the 'packaging' we do post live blog in that it doesn't scroll down your blog forever and it looks compact allowing the reader to quickly go to what they want. The 'vcr' functionality of forward/rewind and the 'real time' is something we toyed with early on, but in almost all tests, people just wanted to use the scrollbar and get to what they wanted quickly. All that said, we are looking to enhance the post live blog experience.
We really do appreciate it when people take the time to truly understand what we are trying to accomplish (whether they like it or not). Please let us know any other thoughts you have or any feedback you get from others. I'm trying to keep up correspondence with as many users as possible so we stay ahead of everyone as this category develops.

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, December 13 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics