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Livestream comes off despite the jitters

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-18 07:30

For print media workers, the term "video livestreaming" had little relevance five years ago when the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China convened in Beijing.

At that time, live broadcasts were the privilege of television correspondents, and most traditional media outlets around the globe imitated TV-style live reports in their online videos.

Most of the print media at that time was not yet integrating various online and offline channels - let alone producing social media videos - all of which are blossoming today.

When I arrived at the Media Center Hotel in Beijing, on the very day last week when facilities were made available for journalists covering the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, I attached my cellphone to my selfie stick and soon ran into colleagues from People's Daily.

"You're doing live coverage?" We made the same exclamation at the same moment and burst into laughter.

Almost everyone here is on a livestreaming mission for their organizations' social media outlets. But my mission is especially demanding - two live broadcasts in two languages, one in Chinese for China Daily's micro blog and the other in English for its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It was my first time hosting a live broadcast for China Daily, and I would be on my own. Thanks to strong support from the new media team at China Daily, almost all the technical problems were solved ahead of the first broadcast.

The tougher challenge was preparing the content of the broadcast. The latest details of the congress have been available only since the morning of Oct 11, when the official website of the press center was launched.

I got up early that day and quickly digested the fresh information, so I was free to take a quick tour of the media center before starting work on my broadcast.

Gradually my mind shifted to its normal nervous state, which is associated with the intensity of my work.

The great progress China has made in the past five years was reflected in one detail that affected me directly - the bandwidth offered at the media center. This year it's 10 times what it was five years ago, enabling smooth streaming with no lag at all.

My debut as a livestreaming host involved holding a selfie stick tight for 90 minutes, and my left hand trembled a bit at brief intervals, which blurred the view. (My sincere apologies to all viewers affected.)

The good news is that more than 2,000 viewers clicked the "thumbs-up" below the broadcast window on Facebook.

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