Money and mortgages are a somewhat taboo topic: everyone’s a voyeur but no one wants to share their balance sheets. That’s why, over the past two weeks, The Globe and Mail has been using ScribbleLive to facilitate conversations about buying homes in Canadian cities. In Canada’s red-hot housing market, talking to real home buyers gives prospectors a fighting chance.
As part of their “Home Buying” series, the Canadian national daily has been running “Buyer Diaries” liveblogs about purchasing homes in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Now in its third week of coverage, the newspaper has a set of bloggers and is also pulling in first-hand accounts and anecdotes from readers, using the liveblogs to create a better understanding of the housing market from the buyers’ perspective.
Dianne Nice is the community editor for the Report on Business section of The Globe and Mail, and she is managing the live chats. In an email, she said inviting readers to liveblog added a community voice to the “Home Buying” section.
“It gives other readers a first-hand glimpse of what it’s like to be in the trenches of a hot urban real estate market,” she said. “It also adds a sense of realism, since the comments are coming from ‘real people,’ not journalists or experts in the housing industry.
“We could easily have found house hunters to quote in our home buying coverage, but the ongoing nature of the live blog allows a public back and forth between the bloggers and readers that you can’t get from a regular online feature.”
That back and forth isn’t just about the news, but has become a part of the coverage itself. Using the liveblogs, Nice has also written a couple of articles summarizing the conversations and highlighting certain comments from Week 1 and Week 2.
She also says bloggers are interacting well with the readers. ”You never know what you’ll get when you allow anonymous comments,” she said in the email. “While not all the comments have been positive and supportive, the majority have been, and the bloggers have been very professional about taking criticism, which is tough to do, even for experienced journalists.”