Here Are the Best Ways to Cover Different Kinds of Live News Events

From Debates To Disasters, Tips For Covering All Kinds of Live News Events

There's nothing like covering a live, breaking news event to get those journalism juices flowing. But live events can often be chaotic and disorganized, and it's up to the reporter to bring order to the chaos. Here you'll find articles on how to cover a wide range of live news events, everything from speeches and press conferences to accidents and natural disasters.

People Talking - Speeches, Lectures and Forums

Christopher Hitchens. Getty Images

Covering speeches, lectures and forums – any live event that basically involves people talking - might seem easy at first. After all, you just have to stand there and take down what the person says, right? In fact, covering speeches can be tough for the beginner. The best way to start, as far as reporting, is to get as much information as you can before the speech. You'll find more tips in this article.

At the Podium - Press Conferences

ATLANTA - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden holds a press conference on the Ebola outbreak.

Spend five minutes in the news business and you'll be asked to cover a press conference. They're a regular occurrence in the life of any reporter, so you need to be able to cover them - and cover them well. But for the beginner, a press conference can be tough to cover. Press conferences tend to move quickly and often don't last very long, so you may have very little time to get the information you need. You can start by coming armed with plenty of good questions.

When Things Go Wrong - Accidents and Disasters

RIKUZENTAKATA, JAPAN - Family photos washed away from the 2011 tsunami displayed at a makeshift evacuation center. Getty Images

Accidents and disasters – everything from plane and train crashes to earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis – are some of the hardest stories to cover. Reporters at the scene must gather important information under very difficult circumstances, and produce stories on very tight deadlines. Covering an accident or disaster requires all of a reporter’s training and experience. The most important thing to remember? Keep your cool.

Daily News - Meetings

So you’re covering a meeting – maybe a city council or school board hearing – as a news story for the first time, and aren’t sure where to start as far as the reporting is concerned. Get started by getting a copy of the meeting’s agenda ahead of time. Then do a little reporting even before the meeting. Find out about the issues the city council or school board members plan to discuss. Then head to the meeting - and don't be late!

The Candidates Face Off - Political Debates

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie makes a point during a GOP debate. Getty Images

Take great notes. Sounds like an obvious point, but debates are long (and often longwinded), so you don’t want to risk missing anything by assuming you can commit things to memory. Get everything down on paper. Write plenty of background copy ahead of time. Why? Debates are often held at night, which means stories must be written on very tight deadlines. And don't wait until the debate ends to start writing - bang out the story as you go.

Rousing the Supporters - Political Rallies

Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Getty Images

Before you head to the rally, learn as much as you can about the candidate. Know where he (or she) stands on the issues, and get a feel for what he generally says on the stump. And stay with the crowd. Political rallies typically have a special section set aside for the press, but the only thing you’ll hear there is a bunch of reporters talking. Get into the crowd and interview the locals who have come out to see the candidate. Their quotes – and their reaction to the candidate - will be a big part of your story.

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Rogers, Tony. "Here Are the Best Ways to Cover Different Kinds of Live News Events." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Rogers, Tony. (2020, August 26). Here Are the Best Ways to Cover Different Kinds of Live News Events. Retrieved from Rogers, Tony. "Here Are the Best Ways to Cover Different Kinds of Live News Events." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 26, 2021).