“Before, the reporters’ first questions often used to revolve around formatting issues: How would their material be published in the print version, what was the word-count limit, and what was the plan when it came to photos? Now they don’t pose these type of questions any more. Instead they focus on the journalistic content right away.” Theodor Ekenstedt, News Editor, Norran
With the digitalization of society, Norran, which has its headquarters in Skellefteå in northern Sweden, needed to better synchronize its print newspaper with its online paper. The reporters working on the different versions used two different systems to produce and publish their creations which ended up stealing valuable time and effort from their core tasks.
“At the end of each work day, the online reporters would almost tear their hair out in frustration when they realized they still had to go through everything they had published during the day and cut and paste their stories into our publishing tool for the print newspaper,” Theodor Ekenstedt, a news editor at Norran, recalls.
“We wanted one, single system that worked for everyone.”
Infomaker, who has had Norran as a customer since the newspaper developed its online presence and adopted NewsPilot in the 1990s, investigated the newspaper’s needs and realized that there were also a widespread desire for developing a freer, more flexible and more mobile work flow.
“So that the reporters could work in any tool they wished and could produce regardless of whether they were out reporting from a car accident or an ice hockey game or from the newsroom,” explains Ulrika Billström, project leader at Infomaker.
There was also a desire to make it easier to plan and schedule both assignments and publications, and that it would be possible to program article publications in advance.
It was a comprehensive project which Infomaker solved by building a cloud that accommodates the tools: Digital Writer, Dashboard, Newsday Planner, Open Content Editorial, Open Content lists, Open Content Satellite, and EveryWare. In addition, the print newspaper’s editorial tool NewsPilot was upgraded and integrated with the tools available in the cloud. The outdated, in-house developed editorial system for the web desk was removed.
In practice, this means that the journalist now work in the Writer tool, while the news editor works in NewsPilot from where he or she has a complete overview over what the reporters are working on and can easily open up and adjust the articles from there. Dashboard is used for planning. The tools have one single interface and are accessible by clicking on tabs in a browser. Every group attended a two-hour long training session to learn how to use the new platform.
“It’s a flexible platform that can handle changes and new demands. Aside from the publication channels that exist today, such as the website, the app and the e-paper, it is easy to add on new channels that are invented in the future,” Ulrika Billström says.
Norran no longer has any barriers between its print and web publications. Instead, all of the newspaper’s staff work in the one and same system. The manual “cut-and-paste” labor has been removed and issues regarding formatting is no longer anything that the reporters have to worry about.
“The reporters are super happy over the freedom they now have to decide over their articles themselves. They don’t feel as limited as they did with the old system,” Theodor Ekenstedt says.
It has also become easy and intuitive for the reporters to enrich their web material with YouTube videos, tweets, slide shows and live broadcasts – regardless of where they are.
“The threshold for our reporters to add digital components has been lowered, and they now add stuff they might not have done before,” he says.
For the editors, the new ecosystem has resulted in it becoming easier for them to plan and control Norran’s content – in one single, transparent system.
“We have a totally new work flow now. It flows freely.”
The transition to the new system isn’t expected to lead to any instant added revenues or cost reductions.
“The greatest gain is that our reporters now can focus on what they’re best at doing: To dig out news and create great content, instead of wasting time on tedious ‘must-do’s’ that plagued their workdays previously,” Theodor Ekenstedt says.
In a nutshell
Challenge: Norran wanted one single system to spare reporters from having to spend valuable time on cutting and pasting their web articles into another system linked to the print newspaper. Norran wanted a flexible and simple system where it would be easy to move in between both the web and the print editions. It also wanted reporters to focus more on the journalistic content rather than formatting issues.
Solution: Infomaker built a cloud that accommodated a series of different tools which allowed for the newspaper staff to move freely between print and web. It also added a planning tool which made it possible for the staff to access the platform regardless of where they are. The platform is built on modules, almost like a Lego, which makes it easy to add on new functionalities, tools and channels if there is a need for it in the future.
Result: Norran has achieved a new work flow in which the journalists no longer have to worry about either form, shape or format, but can instead fully focus on the journalistic content from the start. As soon as an article has been published, it is accessible for both the web and print newspapers. The new ecosystem of tools has also made it easier to enrich web articles with content such as live broadcasts, videos and slide shows. The platform helps the newspaper’s journalists to create better content of higher quality – this is key in tomorrow’s news industry.
Norran has its headquarters in Skellefteå and has around 30 staff. It has a circulation of around 17,500 copies. Since 1972, the newspaper is owned by Skelleftepress, which is a foundation gathering about 30 stakeholders located in the newspaper’s circulation area. The stakeholders are individuals who stand by the newspaper’s free-minded liberal ideas and are also active for the development of their local surroundings. The core of Skelleftepress’ values can be summed up in the word free-minded.
Infomaker develops world-class publishing tools, empowering the media houses of the future. Thousands of professionals and millions of people interact with Infomaker solutions every day in different ways, ranging from content creation to presentation on the web, in native apps and in print. We ensure that news coverage are planned and created. Articles, images and other content is available and presented when, where and how consumers want. We are committed to constantly innovating and improving our services to meet the needs of media houses with a focus on the European market. Today and tomorrow.