When it comes to live-blogging news events, plenty of bloggers and journalism outlets use their own in-house tools. However, more and more news organizations are turning to all-in-one, cloud-based solutions such as ScribbleLive, a service that sees itself as more than just a live-blogging tool for the Academy Awards or a keynote by Steve Jobs. “We see ourselves as becoming much more of a full, real-time content-management system,” ScribbleLive founder Michael De Monte said during a recent interview in San Francisco.
The company’s software allows news outlets to quickly set up a live blog that looks and feels like a regular page on their website, complete with all of their branding and sidebar widgets or whatever else is on the page, says De Monte. Other solutions that provide similar live-blogging or live-discussion features — such as Cover It Live, which is owned in part by Demand Media through its Pluck division — restrict the content within a widget or window that can’t be indexed by search engines or easily converted to other formats, De Monte says (although Cover It Live does allow users to export the data from the window and publish it as a regular HTML page).
ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto, recently launched the next generation of its content-management tools, which add a number of different ways of getting content into the live blog or news discussion. In addition to pulling in Twitter accounts or keywords automatically (which can be filtered to include or exclude specific phrases), the software also allows reporters to contribute their comments via email, SMS, voice-mail or the ScribbleLive web interface, which can be accessed via an iPhone or BlackBerry app.
During the G20 demonstrations earlier this year in Toronto, for example, De Monte says that one of Canada’s major broadcasters kept a running update of what was happening during the riots by calling a voice-mail number and leaving a message, which the system imported automatically as an audio file. Not all reporters are comfortable with Twitter or SMS, the ScribbleLive founder says, “so we provide whatever means they can feel comfortable with for them to provide their analysis and perspectives on the news.”
The company’s software is used by Reuters and Hearst Television in the U.S., as well as several other news organizations, and has also been used by a number of non-media entities such as Greenpeace, which used ScribbleLive to report on the live demonstration over an oil rig. After the event, the searchable pages remain available so anyone looking for information about that event will be able to find and review the live-blog. “ScribbleLive changes the traditional linear flow of the newsroom to a more dynamic, collaborative process that empowers real-time reporting and audience engagement while ensuring editorial control and journalistic integrity,” De Monte said.
The company was bootstrapped for the first year or so of its development — while De Monte and his partner worked at CTV, a large Canadian media network — then got seed funding from Rogers Ventures in 2009. ScribbleLive just closed a second round of seed financing from Rogers, De Monte says, and is currently looking to raise a Series A round of funding. Embedded below is a short interview I did with the ScribbleLive CEO in San Francisco:
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