In a report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Kevin Anderson explores how news organisations around the world are reaching audiences using innovative editorial formats and new commercial models. He finds three broad areas of innovation:
Turkish citizen journalism project 140journos uses a distributed social media approach across multiple platforms. The project was launched by two non-journalists to counter the ‘self-censorship’ of traditional news media outlets. 140journos is currently active on 15 social media platforms, adapting its publishing strategies to each platform. Twitter is used for real-time content. WhatsApp is used to communicate with hundreds of contributors and to create dialogue with their audiences. They have experimented with distributing content via Tinder and Periscope.
140journos is exploring new ways to raise revenue, including membership schemes; sales of images and videos; selling documentary rights and the creation of an English language news service.
News as conversation
Audiences are shifting away from open social sharing platforms to closed messaging platforms. Rappler, a digital news service in the Philippines, has developed a Facebook chatbot (RapRap bot) to help users discover more content. The bot helps users find relevant news content and will be adapted for crowdsourcing projects.
Nyt is the youth section of Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. They launched a WhatsApp newsletter to help them reach a youth audience. After the initial success of that soft-launch newsletter it was obvious that a younger market responded to a conversational editorial approach. They worked with an external developer to create a new chat app.
Video production is one of the few areas of journalism that is growing and video advertising makes up 35% of online ad spend. Video formats range from animated gifs (common on Twitter) to high production value immersive content.
The New York Times began working on mobile video content The Fine Line a year ahead of the Rio Olympics.
The Guardian has been using virtual reality to explore solitary confinement.
You can read more about digital news initiatives here.