Live reporting from the Notre Dame commencement

President Obama at yesterday's commencement. (CNS/Christopher Smith)

President Obama at yesterday's commencement. (CNS/Christopher Smith)

Congratulations to Our Sunday Visitor and the editor of its newsweekly, John Norton, for his live Twitter stream yesterday from the Notre Dame commencement. John was present in the convocation center at Notre Dame and provided fascinating, minute-by-minute coverage of the graduation ceremony, which featured President Barack Obama giving the commencement address and receiving an honorary degree. You can review John’s feed here.

Why does this matter? For one, it’s always better to have a trained journalist reporting from the scene. Sure, you also could have watched a live video feed from the event, but if something happens off camera you’ll miss it, at least at first. And even then, the primary focus is on the stage. Having a reporter there gives the reader a better sense of the entire scene, not just what the camera picks up.

It’s also nice to be able to follow an event like this when you’re not at your computer. I was in my car a good chunk of yesterday afternoon returning home from Pennsylvania, but I was able to follow John’s Twitter feed on my BlackBerry without having to wait for a radio report at the top of the hour. And even then, the two-minute radio segment didn’t give me the depth of what was happening at Notre Dame, even if John’s Twitter stream was limited to 140-character chunks.

Did anyone else have a similar experience? Let us know below how you felt about the coverage of yesterday’s commencement.

UPDATE: I also should have mentioned that Heidi Schlumpf from the National Catholic Reporter was also live at Notre Dame. You can read her blog posts from the commencement here and here.

SECOND UPDATE: Another client of ours who was there, but as a parent of a graduating senior and not as a reporter, was John Feister of St. Anthony Messenger magazine and You can read his reflection on the ceremony here.