The Leader's 17-hour live blogging marathon at Limerick count

Alan Owens, digital editor


Alan Owens, digital editor

The Leader's 17-hour live blogging marathon at Limerick count

The nerve centre: the Leader’s dedicated news team reporting from the count centre in UL Arena on Saturday Picture: Brian Gavin/Press 22

THE UL Arena was host to a marathon of the digital kind on Saturday for the duration of the general election count – and the Limerick Leader was running it.

For 17 hours, a 12-strong team from the Leader delivered a blow by blow account of the action and a truly global audience tuned in. There were tweets from those following the action from Rome to London, while our website registered traffic from across the globe.

Records were shattered as traffic to our website rocketed. The country’s most popular provincial newspaper website was hailed as the best way to follow the Limerick count.

“The reaction we were getting from shortly after the blog began until the very end was absolutely amazing,” said Leader editor Alan English.

“We were getting countless tweets from readers enjoying the rolling news. It was clear that huge numbers of Limerick people found our website service to be the best way of following the count, minute by minute.

“It’s a different form of journalism, but the principles are the same – it’s all about telling the story in the most engaging way possible.”

Utilising the same 24LiveBlog technology deployed worldwide by CBS, Sky News and MSNBC, the Limerick Leader’s rolling news blog reported every twist and turn of a dramatic election count.

Along the way, we provided box tallies, reaction from candidates and their supporters, numerous tweets from readers who were enthralled and also video clips capturing the key moments as they happened.

We recorded more than 300,000 impressions on Twitter, with close to 30,000 views for our video clips on Facebook and YouTube.

Traffic to the live blog showed about a 60% weighting towards mobile phone users, while that figure soared to 80% on Facebook. Of those feeding from the social media site, the largest audience – a 24% share – was women aged 35-44.

Of those visiting the website, however, a majority – 54.15% – were male, with the greatest number of those visiting aged between 25-34, at 33.5% in total.

The large majority of those tuning in, upwards of 80%, were based in Ireland, local and national, but we also had visitors from the UK, USA, Belgium, Australia, Spain, Canada, Germany, France and many other countries, reflecting the huge interest abroad in the outcome of a tense election in both Limerick constituencies.

You interacted with us in your thousands – we hope you enjoyed it. We certainly did.