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CoveritLive has launched a new version of its liveblogging platform which features a "completely new user experience", responsive design and new content sources such as Instagram, Wikipedia and RSS feeds.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, general manager of CoveritLive Ben Schneider said users can still access the previous console if they wish to, while they familiarise themselves with the new platform.

One of the new features available on the new EventStudio console is SmartStream, a stream of content queued for moderation, which might include images, user comments and social media content.

Schneider said this "replaces what was previously just a holding queue for user comments and now it's much more robust".

"It's a moderation queue but it also allows for a few different types of moderation, so if users are submitting comments and responding to the liveblog and you want to moderate those, those will appear here.

"But also if you have Twitter content coming in that you want to review before you publish, it will get queued up here."

The studio essentially operates across three main columns; the first is the liveblog, the second is SmartStream and the third is a changeable column which can be used to search social media platforms, or search for images on the user's computer, or even create live scoreboards or news flashes. The third column can also be used to set up Autotweets, which enable the user to create a feed of tweets based on a keyword or hashtag, for example.

A toolbar along the far right of the platform can be used to change the functionality of the third column.

The content sourced using the third column can then be published directly into the liveblog, or sent for moderation to SmartStream.

CoveritLive event studio

Searching social

The first option along the toolbar is search, which once clicked on will turn the third column into a social search facility. As well as comments and Twitter content, users can also search social content such as YouTube videos, Instagram and Wikipedia.

Instagram and Wikipedia are new sources introduced with CoveritLive's new EventStudio platform.

It has also introduced RSS feeds, offering some of its own to get journalists started, as well as the ability for livebloggers to add their own.

And for those sources which were available in the previous version, the search is now more "refined", Schneider said.

"Twitter has much more flexibility in the searching than it did in the previous tool, including the ability to limit things like images, links and retweets. So previously you could search Twitter but you couldn't do it so refined."

Across comments and YouTube also, the search has been made "much more powerful", he added.

Another option on the toolbar is Autotweets, which as explained earlier, enables users to set up Twitter searches by hashtag, keyword, names or lists, for example.

There is then further filtering available, Schneider added, such as the ability to select whether or not results should include retweets, links and images.

And then, as explained earlier, this content can either be set up to publish directly into the liveblog as new content is posted, or it can be diverted to SmartStream for moderation.

"One of the key things here is this SmartStream will continually update with the most recent content coming in, whether that's user comments or that's Twitter or any other content that I'm automatically including or wanting to be moderated."

Content can also be tagged with a certain colour which can be given specific meaning by the news outlet and its journalists, and enable tasks to be shared and delegated.

The redesign and user experience

CoveritLive's previous platform, now referred to as the Classic console, was "not as easy to get around", Schneider said. Therefore, one of CoveritLive's goals with its new platform was to ensure it improved "the overall experience, making it easier to add content, to pull content from different sources".

The new platform has also "been optimised to be responsive to screen size", he added. "So if you're running it on a smaller screen or say a tablet, it will shrink down to two screens".

Another goal was to make as many tasks as possible either automated or "very easy and quick to do".

"Because the events have become more popular that's put more strain on somebody who is liveblogging or running a live chat because now they're dealing with a larger audience, who are submitting more comments, or trying to do more interactive things and so they just have more tasks.

"So our goal was really to make as much of that workflow as easy as possible and take as many pieces that we can make automated and do that and then the remaining pieces make them very, very easy and quick to do.

"The other thing that we focused on was collaboration... So one area of focus around the new studio was the ability to more easily collaborate and allow multiple people, working inside of an event to do that more efficiently."

Users of the studio can, for example, add panellists to work on the liveblog, send them private messages or a group message to more than one participant, as well as seeing whether or not they are online.

Another new feature is the ability for those running the liveblog to see liveblog statistics in real-time while reporting.

Previously this data was available by logging in to the back end of the system, but not from within the liveblog.

"So what we've done is add this capability," Schneider said. "So you can see your readers... pageviews and clicks and how many comments have been submitted, and also see it in a graph form".

"So it's just really powerful to know during the event how its performing and what sort of engagement levels you have."

Sports reporting

As well as previous features such as polls and newsflashes, which have been made "much easier to create", according to Schneider, CoveritLive's scoreboard functionality has also been updated to make it "much more robust".

"The number of customers that we have that are sports in nature or sports media is pretty balanced with news and with brands and entertainment media. But the number of events and the size of those events for sports is significantly larger because obviously those audiences just draw so much," Schneider said.

The platform will also offer live scores, enabling journalists to choose a league and select a specific date or team to then feed live scores into their liveblog, as part of "a partnership" it has established for live sports data.

This content "automatically updates so you don't have to manually do it", he said, appealing to CoveritLive's goal of bringing it more automation of tasks.

"Our goal has been automate as many of those pieces as possible, or make them much more efficient and quick to do, so that way that job becomes easier and the events become better."

Information about CoveritLive's tiered and custom pricing is available to view online.

Update: This article was updated to make it clear the platform offers custom pricing as well as tiered.

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