Hi there and welcome to todays live blog on the activities of newstantrum this evening. Feel free to tweet in or email newstantrum as this blog continues to follow the activities of newstantrum over the course of the evening.
It’s 19.30 so lets start with reaction to that time. We’ll keep you updated as stuff happens.
19.35 – I’m sat at my fucking computer writing this. Where else would I be?
Well. I might be writing it on my phone. Or on a laptop. Or on a bit of paper. What do you care? Why are you reading this? Are you suddenly expecting me to do something? If I did something I wouldn’t be able to write about it would I? So I’d be caught in a time flux paradox of being unable to immediately report my action. It would be like if Michael J Fox had kissed his mum at the prom in Back to the Future – you know what I mean?
OK – so I’m really going somewhere here aren’t I? Yes? Bear with me! Where? I’m going to a psychiatric ward because the flow of information from the media seeping into my brane has become so profound that I can’t even keep up with it – it’s spilling out onto the floor like wet vomit. I can physically see words rolling down my chin from my nose because I’m leaking all the shit I keep getting fed.
19.42 – I’m in a taxi on the way to the ward throwing up words. I just threw up the word “luscious” and it’s staining the upholstery with its anachronistic exoticism. I’m scrambling to get this tripe on my phone because I still need to be hooked up to the mainframe even when I’m losing it.
What I’m talking about is live blogs. An insipid press trend that has gone from being a sublime means of real-time updates on live events to a farcical catch-all means of reporting shit without thought, consequence, grammatical awareness or the ability to research and write something meaningful.
19.47 – I’m actually still sat at my computer. I made that last bit up. I think my son has just gone to sleep upstairs and I’m tucking into a novelty christmas beer called “Rosey Nosey”
I remember when live blogs first started appearing. Well. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. Maybe they’ve been around forever and I only latched onto them recently. I don’t know. I can’t process anything historical anymore. I can only focus on what is now – preferably with a time and a suitably apt platitude from twitter attached to it.
I suppose you’d call the Guardian’s over by over coverage of the cricket a bit of a live blog. When twitter was what birds did and Mark Zuckerberg only had a few million friends people would log onto the OBO and watch what someone watching cricket was writing about what they watched. Sounds dull but when your job is as dull as most people’s and you want to interact with people about cricket and know what’s going on then it’s actually pretty fun. Especially when the live bloggers were quite good at it.
20.04 Jez Moxley writes from twitter – “Get on with it you prick. What are you doing. Have you had your tea yet?” – Actually Jez I’ve just put it in the oven thanks for reminding me.
Anyway. At some point when the internet became more than just a flat thing and twitter and Facebook began to drive the news as much as actual events people in Newsrooms wanted a way to interact… to get on top of a story and keep it running, bleeding it until it could bleed no more and was just a husk on the floor. That’s when live blogs became a little bit more mainstream.
20.14 – Just updating iTunes. Always takes ages but I need to put some new music on my phone. I’ve got some Scout Niblett and Teenage Bad Girl to go on there.
Like all things it starts with the best of intentions. A few selective live blogs on breaking news. When your audience want to tune in and tune out of an event and keep tabs while they’re working without swallowing up bandwidth. Live blogs started to seep into big events. This year when the earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan there was a live blog. It was 1,000 times better than watching breathless reporters bleating out a running commentary to disaster porn shot on amateur cameras.
20.14 – Fucking hell. How long does it take to download a breakbeat podcast? 60 minutes? My internets pipes are too thin for this shit. I probably won’t even get to listen to it either. Bah!
But now live blogs have reached a real saturation point. Embarrassingly so. Everywhere. There are no newspapers or media outlets that you can say are not overcooking this means of reporting. The Guardian literally live.blogs.everything. If someone was eating a pie at a football game the Guardian might just live blog each mouthful. But they’re far from being alone. The Amanda Knox trial was liveblogged by everyone – I liveblogged it myself just so I knew what was going on. And even then half the papers miscalculated on the outcome. The Leveson enquiry, which has its OWN feed of stuff happening has been liveblogged to death already. So much that I’m actually bored with it. Bored with something that I’d normally be passionate about. Live blogs are killing my spirit. My will to care. They are killing my short-term memory too. I can’t even remember the names of friends and family. The past is becoming a grey abyss as all the information from live blogs pushed it out of my mind.
20.22 There goes the alarm – but my food isn’t ready yet.
If Charlotte Church was 15 right now there would be a tabloid live blog countdown to her 16th Birthday instead of the printed one they ran. Updated, minute by minute by leering paedophiles with a horde of dirty old men chipping in tweets about her swelling chest and her innocent eyes. Yesterday there was a live blog on the telegraph on the Suarez FA disciplinary. Yes. A live blog about an announcement that had already been made. I was astounded. I kept checking in to see what updates had been made. Were they expecting a revolution? Bloody violence? Anything? It just sat there saying NOTHING all day long.
20.28 – Just hacked the arm off a passer-by. He looked at me funny.
There are two things I hate about live blogs. Their ubiquity is one of them. With ubiquity quality seems to have gone out of the window. Live blogs are essentially one of the laziest forms of journalism imaginable. Basically you sit there watching something – probably on the telly. Then you write what’s been said and done. Half your work gets done for you because there’s a host of people out there who want to get mentioned on your live blog so you can draw whatever opinion or speculation you want verbatim from twitter or emails anyway.
20.31 – being chased by a fucking POLAR bear! Would you believe it? He just ate my dinner too!
The second thing that I hate is that the thing that fuels live blogs has already made them obsolete. If I want real times updates and opinion on anything why would I let a newspaper laboriously update monotonously every 5 minutes when I could go straight to the source. When the riots were happening in Greece a month or two back I noticed no-one was live-blogging them (even though they were live blogging Dale Farm until it lay kicking and screaming in a news gutter). But I didn’t need a live blog. Protesters and local stations were streaming live footage over youtube. Twitter was running about a hundred hashtags on it. I could mainline my news without even putting it in the needle of a news agency.
20.40 – The death is coming. It’s coming fast.
And that’s probably what a lot of the media are petrified of. The internet has created a world where you don’t need to have a specialist “news” conduit for your information – all the barriers are breaking down and people who want information can plug into it at will. Live blogs are a pathetic attempt to recreate the immediacy that other sources already provide. The news would be better off reporting things well and properly or through the same channels, than flooding their websites with something that fails so short.
20.40 – Just had a conversation with an octopus. It said happy christmas. Stupid thing – Christmas is years away