As Hurricane Irma hurtles through the eastern Caribbean towards Florida, there’s a pressing need to urgently report accurately from the ground. To do that, we often choose to supplement our journalism by curating a live coverage page to update the ongoing events.
While our main story on big news events will get updated many times, our live coverage page incorporates social media posts from our teams in the field, up-to-the-second headlines coming from our news desks, individual photos that capture compelling moments and updates from verified sources outside of Reuters, such as local news outlets or government agencies.
The flexibility of the journalists and the actual platform is key. During these storms, a correspondent can take and share a photo, while a photographer can update a detail about flooding in an area. For instance, Ernest Scheyder, who usually spends his time reporting on the energy industry, contributed photos and videos of the storm and later at a Texas shelter in its aftermath. Those updates happen minute-by-minute, and our data show readers will follow our live coverage for anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour per visit.
We have covered a wide swath of news events using this live format: the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Brexit, most Apple product launches and, more recently, Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The most “watched” of them was the aftermath of the Nov. 13, 2015 attacks in Paris that killed more 130 people. That coverage spanned more than 20 web pages, and included dozens of photos from vigils around the world, Facebook posts from alleged terrorists and maps of the attack sites.
Live coverage pages also feature tweets and PDFs, which are not always possible on other platforms. When it makes sense, we also rely on sources outside of Reuters. For example, we republish U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets directly into our Politics live page when he makes news, rather than rewrite what he tweets. In the case of Hurricane Irma, our live coverage features updates from official organizations like the National Hurricane Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Governor Rick Scott and local authorities.
Our goal is to give readers one place to find the most relevant updates on important fast-moving stories.
(Corrects paragraph 5 to say Florida Governor Rick Scott instead of Florida Gov. Rick Perry)