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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Dear diary: Wild web broadcast weekend success

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear diary: Wild web broadcast weekend success

Dear diary,
Well the "soft opening" of our first-ever live web-broadcast from the shores of Fish Creek were a total success. I spent the weekend testing out CoverItLive combined with UStream, offering a live internet feed of the finish line during the Saratoga Invitational Regatta.

After a successful five-hour test in the newsroom watching people type, we decided to give it a go.

With little fanfare or publication it went off without a hitch and the views began to grow slowly. After three hours of uninterrupted success, I sent out an e-mail blast to the invited coaches courtesy of Chris Chase from the Saratoga Rowing Association. With help from Steve Shoemaker telecommuting over the weekend with web help on The Saratogian web-site things began to gain momentum on Sunday.

We had kudos from a set of grandparents in Vero Beach, Florida and a huge thank you from a woman who wrote "My mother has never seen my son row because she cannot walk...she just did." That just sent me over my chair. I was grateful for her kind comments and it can only propel me to do even more.

We had "good jobs" from the gang at 20 Lake Avenue and the boss, publisher Mike O'Sullivan was truly impressed with the work, something hard to do. If he's happy, then we're ALL happy.

Out of the 18 hours broadcast over the weekend, we were only down for 13 minutes total on Sunday when I lost the video connection. A few on/offs and re-embed and I was back on the air.

Another accomplishment was integrating the results out of the timing system, into my laptop and spitting out an almost newspaper-ready file. In 15 minutes I had 53 race results ready to send to the office, previously it was all hand typed (not by me, Reda usually got that task) beginning at 9 a.m. for the duration. Wendy Stein came through with the file and now I'm ready for every weekend of rowing.

I did learn a lot. People near the camera don't like a live microphone for 18 hours, but it kept the timing tent clicking, so I'll take it. We do want to improve the overall audio and timing of information on CoverItLive to keep our watchers more informed.

Next up is going to be a live stream of Friday's (April 30) boys lacrosse contest between the Shenendehowa boys lacrosse team and Saratoga at 7 p.m. I'll be up in the booth and Reda will be my sound person on the ground (live mic coaches, so be mindful) through and Look for taped quarters from the event and post-game interviews too.

See you and hear you 7 p.m. Friday via CoverItLive and UStream.

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