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Online Journalism Scandinavia: Norway’s Aftenposten to webcast editorial meetings

July 8th, 2008Posted by in Newspapers

Norway’s newspaper of record, the Schibsted-owned Aftenposten, is to start webcasting parts of its editorial meetings.

Following of a newspaper debate on media transparency where American regional newspaper Spokesman-Review, which has webcast its editorial meetings since June 2006, was upheld as an ideal in terms of editorial transparency, the paper’s editor-in-chief Hans Erik Matre told attendees it was time to open up more of the editorial process to public view.

“We are considering webcasting our editorial meetings, starting this autumn. However, instances were we broadcast these live online, in full, will probably be limited,” he later told Journalism.co.uk.

“What we have concrete plans for, is publishing parts of our editorial meetings online to get feedback. This could either be to get reader perspectives on the evaluation of our stories, in retrospect, or to involve readers more upfront in the planning stage of big stories – say on healthcare.”

Steve Smith, the editor-in-chief of Spokesman-Review, visited Oslo recently. He told Journalism.co.uk webcasting editorial meetings was a minor programme in the scheme of things for the newspaper, which also use reader polls and journalist-written blogs actively.

“Our webcasts have 40-50 viewers in the morning, 20-25 in the afternoon. It’s mostly our competitors or people who have, or think they might have, a stake in what is being said. We attract few viewers simply because these are boring meetings. It’s symbolic: the fact that it is there, that it is an option, is important. We also break out pieces of the webcast and put them on blogs when we are dealing with controversial issues,” he explained.

He added: “The whole transparency costs next to nothing. The challenge is time: I would much rather spend all my time blogging than being an editor.”

In May, Liverpool Daily Post (LDP) became the first British newspaper to webcast an editorial meeting. Mark Comerford talks to LDP’s editor Mark Thomas about their “transparency” experiments here.

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