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#su2011: New online open newsroom a hit for Swedish newspaper

A pioneering Swedish newspaper that involves its readers in the daily editorial decision-making process says the new approach has been a massive hit with users and advertisers.

Norran, a large regional daily in the north of Sweden, has opened up its newsroom with a tool called eEditor, a live chat powered by CoverItLive where readers can discuss story ideas with journalists in real time.

The blog is monitored by a senior journalist throughout the day. The newslist and minutes from conferences are published online and readers suggest possible angles and ask questions.

Editor-in-chief Anette Novak said Norran had completely overhauled its image by involving readers and being more transparent.

Speaking at the WAN-IFRA summer university in Paris today, she said: “I realised that if anybody asks: ‘do we need Norran?’ they would decide: no we don’t. We had to stop it before the question even occurs in their heads.”

She said web traffic and Facebook referrals were up – and key motoring and property advertisers who deserted during the recession had come back. The experiment has also allowed the paper to broaden its coverage.

“We believe that we have strengthened our brand,” Novak said.

“Transparency is the new objectivity. We post the job list – the stories we are working on today.

“The instant feedback and the personal reply is extremely important. It’s the feeling that there’s somebody there live now.

“You have to answer in a good way, a polite way and a knowledgeable way, or you can lose trust.”

Novak said some news organisations were so focused on getting a return on investment from digital projects that they lost sight of their readers’ needs.

“If we follow the money… that will make us go for projects that we know will make money and we will keep doing the same thing over and over again. We have to experiment.

“Get readers involved with your brand, engage them with their hearts and minds and the money will follow.”

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The death of Osama bin Laden: New York Times interactive gauges public opinion

I really like this interactive feature from the excellent New York Times graphics team on readers’ reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden.

As a way of organising responses to a crowdsourcing exercise it isn’t anything new, it takes off from mapping responses geographically. But it is simple and effective, mixing text responses with a broad visual understanding of where the readership’s sentiments fall.

Interesting to see how many people sit right on the fence in the significance stakes.

The image below is a completely non-interactive screengrab of the feature, but follow this link for the full experience.

The NYT team has also put together some impressive graphics showing the layout of the compound, geography of the area and timeline of events.

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BBC Dimensions: Making the news more geographically relevant

The BBC has launched ‘Dimensions’ – an interactive map prototype which aims to ignite a public interest in history and the news by making it geographically relevant to an individual.

The technology uses the address of a user to show the scale of an event in history, such as the recent oil spill in the Gulf, and applies it to a map of the user’s home and vicinity.

Discussing the technology, which currently “sits by itself”, BBC commissioning executive Max Gadney says the tools are being considered for use on BBC History and News pages.

When I took over the online History commissioning job, I knew that we would need a mix of traditional, trusted BBC content with some attention-grabbing digital stuff to get people to it.

It’s easier said than done. Many technologists and designers are not really interested in history. Like much of the audience they were turned off by dull lessons at school. Our challenge was to make it relevant to audiences.

See his full post here…

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