I know many of you have been popping along to read the live text updates I’ve been doing during the daytime matches. I’ve had an immense amount of fun covering twelve matches in this way but there won’t be any more, for a few reasons.
The first is a simple matter of logistics. I was delighted to realise that from Tuesday onwards there were no lunchtime kickoffs, then crestfallen when I remembered that the last group matches were played simultaneously. This obviously would have meant liveblogging two matches at the same time, which just isn’t possible for a one-man operation.
The second is that the number of readers I was getting didn’t seem worth the investment of time: over three hours a day for a handful of views. Now I’m not in this for the traffic – far from it – but I’ve learned that these things are really livened up by a constant stream of reader comments, especially when the football itself is pretty dull. There were times early on when I was watching Algeria v Slovenia and wondering what on earth to say about a game where literally nothing was happening. I’d pop over to the BBC or Guardian to see what they were saying and of course they’d spent ten minutes taking the piss out of a reader who has emailed in with something ludicrous.
The main reason, though, is that I am studying news journalism yet in its present format I am not writing about news. It’s been live blogs and match reports all the way which is fine; it was the intention all along to do this while there was a steady flow of games during the day while people are out at work. But now there’s only the one daytime kickoff, and as the number of games per day starts to reduce as we go through the rounds, I hope to be able to spend more time writing news. Because I’ve been liveblogging all the daytime games I’ve not been able to file ‘at the whistle’ which is a key skill to sports journalism, and one which forms the bulk of the NCTJ’s sports exam.
It’s my intention that at the end of the World Cup I can look back at a blog where I have tried as many different things as possible, written in a variety of styles. You’ll already see (I hope) a distinction between the match reports I wrote early on, the live text, and the group summaries I’ve posted this morning. By the time we get to the quarter finals I intend to do more in-depth analysis, match previews and opinion pieces to go along with the usual match reports, and a lot more news. Some will be serious, some will be quite the opposite. Either way I hope you keep reading and commenting throughout the rest of the tournament.