Canada's National Post uses "Coveritlive" to cover Federal Budget
NationalPost.com of Canada covered the Canadian Federal Budget Day with a live blog, including tweets from citizens as well as coverage by Chris Boutet, John Ivison in Ottawa and Kelly McParland in Toronto.
As a non-Canadian, the nuances of the political parties and editorial stance of the National Post are unfamiliar, but the use of a live blog that includes polls, twitters, audience comments and analysis with links to the budget and background information should provide interested readers with tools to engage in a debate about the budget, no matter what their point of view, and ground their remarks in facts.
The advantage of the live blog, is that the National Post was able to include links to the budget, a twitter feed where anyone could join in the discussion, as well as links to their own coverage of budget issues.
A question for this kind of political coverage is whether the audience it draws is diverse and allows for robust discussion or whether it draws only the like-minded and becomes an echo chamber.
The speech began at 4 p.m. which allowed lots of discussion of the budget issues before it began, as well as several photos, including one of Minister Flaherty in his "budget shoes." Once Mr. Flaherty began speaking, the live blog would alternate a post of a statement by Flaherty, and either a twitter or other comment, or a note from one of the NationalPost reporters.
The speech wrapped up about 5 p.m. and was posted on their site by 6 p.m. The highlights, according to the National Post were:
- The economy will be in deficit until 2013.
- At its worst, the federal debt is projected to be $542.4-billion in fiscal 2012-13.
- This budget will create or maintain 190,000 jobs.
- The federal government will spend $40-billion over the next two years to stimulate the economy.
- $200-billion to the financial markets to improve access to credit.
- Read more highlights
One poster, James Cowan, suggested the budget is a surprise, "...we might be living in a Bizzaro world where the Liberal's challenge the Conservative budget based on too many tax cuts and too much deficit spending."
The use of live blogs is in its infancy, but the promise of this technology for bringing many voices and transparency to the political arena is clear. Whatever government is being covered, events, who the participants are, access to technology (e.g. high speed connections or not) and how mainstream media uses tools like live blogging to present political events will determine the value of this kind of technology as tools for furthering or obstructing democracy.