Schibsted-owned Norwegian newspaper VG.no isn’t just a newspaper – it’s also a software developer, having built a system for readers to send in stories, news tips and images by mobile. The technology behind the VG News Portal has been bought by newspaper websites internationally, including the Sun and News of the World in the UK.
Papers can also rent the system, Vidar Meisingseth, project manager at VG.no, tells Journalism.co.uk. The image below shows what an editor using the system sees as tips are submitted.
But new benefits of the portal are becoming apparent: in Oslo VG has created a database of its freelance correspondents and ‘tippers’ (users who send in tips and content). By geotagging this information the editorial team at VG.no can call up a map when a story breaks showing who is within a 50km radius.
This has potential for both assigning freelancers to stories, but also to finding eyewitnesses or gathering more information from citizens on the ground, says Meisingseth.
Using geotagging presents further opportunities not yet trialled by the paper, for example, mapping related stories such as a crime to see where and how frequently it is happening in a certain area.
VG.no already has information on its regular ‘tippers’ and this too could provide editorial leads, if for example a reader was sending in the same complaint about an unresolved issue in their area month-on-month.
In the Oslo system images sent in are also being geotagged – a useful step in the factchecking process with the potential to create image maps around larger, breaking news events.