Tumblr and The Guardian, together with four GIF creators, will report the US presidential debate on Wednesday with a live election blog, featuring 'animated GIFs', a file format allowing short video-type clips.
Guardian reporter Adam Gabbatt will 'live blog' the proceedings using 'GIFs', computer animated files popular on blogging and social network platforms. In a post for Tumblr staff blog, Gabbatt will be a guest editor for the Tumblr election blog, while also providing live blog updates for the British newspaper, The Guardian.
The GIF artists that will take part of the first presidential debate of the 2012 US elections are Lacey Micallef, Bobby Finger, Mr.GIF and Tumblr director Topherchris (Christopher Price). Gabbatt will blog the full news stories behind the bitmap images.
In a telephone interview for journalism website Poynter, Gabbatt says that he '... have never live-GIFfed anything before... but he will mostly just curate the GIFs stream of the four GIF-making all stars'.
“This won’t be like a serious news analysis of what’s going on, but it will offer a light alternative,” Gabbat said. Richard Adams, US correspondent for The Guardian, will handle the live blog updates that Gabbat will feed for the UK newspaper.
Tumblr editor Christopher Price (Topherchris) said that the GIF creators will operate by having USB TV tuners from their laptops plugged into the Tumblr staff computers, where it will capture the live broadcast feed. Price described the process as straightforward, but involves quick and fast reflexes from the artists to execute their ideas, along with plenty of experiences in Photoshop.
Tumblr posts the other schedules of the "live GIF coverages" on their website. The presidential debate on domestic policy begins at 9pm Eastern time on October 3 Wednesday. The vice-presidential debate on foreign and domestic policy will be on October 13 Thursday. The presidential debate on foreign policy will be on October 22 Monday.