When Reuters closed its liveblog of the triple disaster in Japan after 14 days of live reporting, the resulting story was 298 pages long — the world’s longest news story.
Reuters correspondents reported what was happening on the ground through words, audio and video, while reporters back in the newsroom provided backgrounders and global context for a story that evolved by the minute. Photojournalists kept the blog supplied with a steady stream of photos of collapsed buildings, rescue workers, survivors and a mass grave. A lively discussion about the role of media in Japan coverage unfolded right in the blog. At one point in the days following the earthquake, Reuters’ liveblog received as many as 25,000 unique users, all watching at the same time. Readers tuned in from every continent on the planet (see figure below).
Similar to how it distributes its more traditional reporting, Reuters syndicated its live coverage to media outlets in the U.S. and Canada, including Maclean’s and CityNews. (Rock Content is unveiling a range of syndication capabilities this month.)
The result? A nuanced, calm report that stood out amidst the hysteria of sensationalized media coverage.