Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Great digital news case studies from Norway

I’m presenting at WAN IFRA in Berlin tomorrow, which meant that I had a little time to listen in to some of the presentations going on around the event. Since it’s fair to say the news industry is still experimenting with digital, I thought some case studies might be interesting. I was particularly taken with the work of Espen Egil, from VG Norway, a newspaper group that’s been very innovative in its use of new digital formats. A few examples:

One. The fire truck scandal
A Norwegian district was campaigning to get a new fire truck as there’s was very old. VG turned this into a social campaign in which people submitted photos of their old fire trucks. VG put them onto an interactive map so that readers could compare different districts. 40% of districts had a profile in the first week and, of course, the fire departments started posting pictures of their shiny new trucks, so both ends of the spectrum were covered.

Two. Kindergarten care compared
This was a more traditional piece of investigative reporting, in which the paper sent half a dozen reporters to write reports on the state of kindergarten care across Norway. They generated 4,700 reports, which were, again set up behind an interactive map that enabled people to see how their area performed. VG also took submissions from citizens to add to the knowledgebase. An impressive project and check out the front cover of the paper on the day of its release. Brilliant.

Three. The world’s longest interview
I love this, because it shows how newspapers and online publishers can use online video in a more innovative way than the TV stations. The basic premise is that VG discovered that the world record for the longest single interview was 26 hours and set out to break it. They found a (very impressive) poly-math and set out on a 30 hour interview marathon that 1.8m people ended up watching. Amazing for such a small country… The interview is pretty interesting too J.

Extract (one of many) on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5YcPcB2gYk

Four. The 100 year old package
In 1912 a Norwegian man wrapped up a package with instructions not to open it for 100 years. A VG journalist discovered this and set out to create a multimedia project charting it’s story and unwrapping. Somewhat ironically, it basically contained old newspapers!

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