The fiscal crisis in Greece, plans by the U.S. and Cuba to open embassies in each other’s capital and tennis competition at Wimbledon are among the many developing stories in recent weeks that AP journalists have covered in a live blog type of presentation.
The filing system, called The Latest, presents short blocks of text on a running story in a broadcast-friendly fashion that works for both online and on-air use.
When used, The Latest replaces AP’s current breaking news filing protocol for text — in which a story is first reported as a so-called NewsNow of 130 words or less containing key developments, and then written-through again to restore all the details and background.
Instead, AP journalists file time-stamped updates stacked on top of each other so that The Latest becomes a running file showing how a story evolved.
“The Latest allows us to imbue developing stories with a you-are-there quality, which makes them feel all the more fresh and current,” said Director of Top Stories Kristin Gazlay.
“For instance, when the Boston Marathon bombing trial started and it took awhile for the proceedings to kick off, one of the first updates to The Latest led off noting that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sitting alone at the defense table and described his demeanor,” Gazlay added. “That’s something we would have been unlikely to file a freestanding NewsNow on, but a detail readers would devour on a top story.”
She noted that the pilot would be expanded to more stories, “including ones that have fewer developments but still can benefit from this treatment.”
Gazlay added: “We’ve heard from a number of TV customers that it’s actually a time-saver for them _ they don’t have to search through a number of separate files to glean the highlights of a story, since they’re all in one file. And the self-contained entries are ready to read on-air.”
At least 200 newspaper, television and radio websites featured The Latest when AP used it for the NCAA Final Four games, including many TV network affiliates.
The Latest also is increasingly gaining traction on Twitter: Versions of it showed in Twitter’s top 10 rankings for each of the three days of the U.S. Memorial Day weekend.
The bottom line is that The Latest has turned out to be effective in showcasing the newest information about a story in a way that is palpably fresh, fast and even more useful to customers. AP plans to expand its use.