Experiments in digital news – case studies

Organisational and commercial forces are driving change and experimentation.

A new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism looks at how and why legacy news organisations are experimenting with digital news products. Twelve projects in six European countries (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the UK) are investigated.

News organisations are experimenting for a combination of commercial, editorial and organisational reasons. They want to reach new audiences (and generate income via advertising or conversion to paid subscriptions); improve services to existing audiences; improve their image as innovators; find new ways to tell stories and drive organisational and cultural change.

The participating organisations include The Times and Sunday Times (UK); La Repubblica (Italy); Le Monde (France) and Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany).

Reaching new audiences

  • Finland’s tabloid Iltalehti relaunched its app and created new content sections specifically designed to appeal to under-30s. Editorial, commercial and technical experts collaborated on the redesign that included more personalisation and focused on telling news through pictures.
  • Le Monde in France established a Snapchat Discover team to publish news targeted at millennials.
  • Social Videos at Poland’s TVN24 are produced specifically for social networks and aims to reach younger audiences.

New ways of telling stories

  • Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung produces 360-degree and VR videos.
  • Production of news stories for distribution via Amazon Echo at n-tv (Germany)
  • Long-Form Multimedia Journalism and documentaries at La Repubblica (Italy) called Super 8.

Organisational change  

  • ITV in the UK developed new ways to organise video production and create bespoke content for social and mobile media.
  • A merger of news rooms in France (TF1, LCI, and MetroNews) brought together journalists with backgrounds in both print and media journalism.

Improving services to readers

  • A restyled news website at Italy’s Mediaset
  • A daily newsletter by Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza is compiled by different journalists to introduce subscribers to their pick of the day’s most important stories

The full report can be downloaded here: