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News Impact Summit: Audience first
Oct 2020
6 October 2020

News Impact Summit: Audience first

Stefanie Loos SL20190619a1178 1
06 October 2020
08 October 2020
Practical Details

Who is your audience? How can newsrooms and journalists put their audience first and better engage with them? How can they reach new readers? Audience remains the number one priority for many newsrooms, especially with the shift towards reader revenue which many newsrooms are aiming for.

This Summit will be dedicated to finding ways for journalists to build a closer relationship with their readers. We will look into innovative storytelling tools and emerging technologies that don’t require large investments to attract new and more diverse audiences. We will also get inspiration from news organisations and journalists that have relied on closer relationships and the trust of their readers to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and plan their future.

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Welcome remarks


By Adam Thomas, Isabelle Sonnenfeld
Audience in lockdown: understanding reader behaviours through 'news moments'

Understanding the needs, the intent, and the mindset of audiences at different times of day can help journalists better serve them and therefore grow audiences. But what happens to audience behaviours as countries go into lockdown? And what happens when lockdowns ease?

Sarah will explain how Vogue tracked audience behaviours during lockdown and the easing of lockdowns and identified the changing needs of its audience. She will also share how Vogue used that information to grow and develop audiences.


By Sarah Marshall
How to find, acquire and retain the next generation of readers

Kevin will tell us how The Economist boosted referrals from social media by 180% in six months and achieved phenomenal growth on Instagram, which is increasingly becoming a news source for younger audiences.


By Kevin Young
Grab a coffee & move your legs
Is it the right time to jump onto TikTok?

TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2019 and three-quarters of its users are under 24. But legacy media and freelance journalists have found more purposes on TikTok than just engaging with younger audiences.

We will hear about strategies that range from fighting against false information to discussing hard news with a lighter twist on this platform.


By Julie Lelièvre, Elise Johnson
Breakout Sessions in English, French and German

1. Why news storytelling is broken and how we can fix it (in English)

What are stories for? Why do we need news? Maybe journalism’s broken and we’re doing it all wrong? In this session, Shirish will confront these fundamental questions head-on, and ask how we can build new journalism that is truly inclusive and helps us all understand the world better. Shirish will look at how neuroscience, anthropology, and user-centered design can help us create newsrooms that are fit for the future.

2. Wie du ein Paid-Content-Modell für eine Zielgruppe entwickelst, die kein Geld ausgeben will / How to develop a paid content model for a target group that is reluctant to spend (in German)

Marieke zeigt in ihrem Workshop, wie sie auf die Idee für gr.een – das erste Paid-Membership-Modell für die Generation Y und Z bei - gekommen ist. Von der ersten Idee bis zum Launch: Zusammen mit ihren Teilnehmer*innen zeichnet Mareike nach, was man sich im Vorfeld eines Paid-Content oder Abo-Modells für seine Website oder sein Produkt überlegen muss, wie man es auf den Markt bringt, verbessert – und auch, wie man es wieder einstellt, falls alles nach hinten losgeht oder sich die Gesamtstrukturen ändern; zum Beispiel, weil es eine weltweite Pandemie gibt.

In this workshop, Marieke will guide us through the journey for creating the first paid membership model for Generation Y and Z at, the German website for young people checking their news on mobile. From the initial idea to the launch of a paid content or subscription model, Marieke and the participants will look into: how to plan it, how to get it out on the market, how to adjust the model, and how to discontinue it if the overall structures change for example because there is a worldwide pandemic.

3. Créer des produits pour votre public le plus fidèle / Creating products for your most loyal audiences (in French)

Ouest France a vu grandir ses auditeurs de podcast de 100 000 à 450 000 écoutes mensuelles en un an, tout en couvrant les élections municipales françaises de 2020, grâce à une stratégie hyper-localisée. Pendant cette session, nous apprendrons comment Ouest France a innové dans ses procédés et son workflow pour créer des podcasts engageants destinés à des publics locaux et régionaux.

Ouest France has grown their podcast audience from 100,000 to 450,000 listeners in a year while covering the French 2020 municipal elections, thanks to a strategy of hyper-local focus. In this session, we will learn how Ouest France innovated its process and workflow to create engaging podcasts for local and regional audiences.


By Shirish Kulkarni, Édouard Reis Carona
Welcome remarks
Launching a subscription model amid a pandemic

El País launched its first digital subscription paid model after 44 years on 1 May, a roll-out complicated by Spain being hard-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. In just four months, El País attracted 64,200 new digital-only subscribers, a community that has now grown to over 110,000. In July, El País also expanded its business abroad by launching a new digital edition in Mexico to serve Latin American audiences. We will learn how El País’ new strategy and subscription scheme will help guarantee the publication’s financial sustainability.


By Borja Echevarría de la Gándara
Listening sells: How data brings us closer to our audiences

To be heard as an opinion leader, one first needs to listen. The Rheinische Post’s Listening Center was created to bring about a shift in the organisation’s journalism paradigm: editors dropped assumptions about what they thought readers needed/wanted, and began producing and delivering content that truly suited the needs expressed by their readers. Hannah will tell us how the editorial team of the Rheinische Post uses data to find new audiences, strengthen the relationship to their community and acquire paying subscribers.


By Hannah Monderkamp
Grab a coffee & move your legs
Putting audiences first: the 50:50 way

During this session we will discover how BBC's 50:50 The Equality Project has supported the broadcaster's aims of creating content that reflects society - and audiences - better. Nina will explain how 50:50 uses data to increase women's representation on content, and look at the positive impact this has had for BBC audiences. Nina will also provide insight into how the core principles of the grassroots initiative are now being applied to other underrepresented groups.


By Nina Goswami
How Mediacités answered readers' needs during the COVID-19 crisis

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit France, Mediacités’ staff was 100% involved in the coverage of city elections and had to adapt both its organisation and editorial production in just a few days. Readers were asked to share questions, expertise, and feedback about the stories published on the pandemic. This led the French investigative publication to respond to the crisis new storytelling formats (solutions-oriented stories, explainers, Q&A), and to convert more readers into paying members.


By Pierre Leibovici
Breakout Sessions in English, French and German

1. Capture the mobile generation: delivering content through the ‘Web Story’ format
(in English)

With 1,8 billion daily active users, ‘Web Stories’ have become the preferred format for audiences on mobile. The fast-loading & immersive experience provided by ‘Web Stories’ suits on-the-go content consumption, social media distribution and the reduced attention spans of the audience. How can you adapt your content and preserve its quality for this new rhythm of news consumption? How can you engage your audience and capture its attention through the vertical screen? In this workshop, Hans will take us on a deep dive into the ‘Web Stories’ and how to use this mobile-focused format to cater to the new mobile generation.

2. Comment maintenir et développer une société de presse à but non lucratif en utilisant les nouvelles technologies au service du journalisme ?/How to sustain and grow a non-profit media organization using new technologies at the service of journalism (in French)

En tant que groupe médiatique indépendant à but non lucratif et basé en dehors de la Tunisie depuis 2014, Inkyfada a augmenté son audience auprès des communautés arabophones et francophones grâce au journalisme d’investigation, à l’instar des affaires des Panama Papers et des Swiss Leaks. Lors de cet atelier, Malek, Chayma et Monia vont nous expliquer comment l’équipe multidisciplinaire d’Inkyfada (journalistes, développeurs et designers) produit un contenu riche dans trois langues et comment elle crée des outils qui facilitent le travail des reporters. Ils nous diront comment au sein de leur équipe ils communiquent sur la priorité donnée à leur audience et sur leur engagement afin de produire un journalisme d’intérêt public.

An independent, non-profit media group based out of Tunisia since 2014, Inkyfada grew its reach across Arab and French speaking communities with investigative journalism like the Swiss Leaks and the Panama Papers. In this workshop Malek, Chayma and Monia will explain how Inkyfada's multidisciplinary team (journalists, developers & designers) produces rich content in three languages and designs tools that facilitate the work of reporters. The team will also share how they communicate audience priorities and engagement across the team to produce public interest journalism.

3. Die Macht der Umfragen/The Power of Surveys (in German)

Krautreporter ist ein Mitglieder-finanziertes Online Magazin aus Berlin, das sich auf Engaged Journalism konzentriert. Krautreporter arbeitet in engem Kontakt mit seinen Mitgliedern und involviert sie für Input, Fachwissen und Kontakte im Berichterstattungsprozess.

In ihrem Workshop werden Leon und Bent berichten, welche Tools sie entwickelt haben, um Umfragen für ihr Mitgliederwachstum zu nutzen. Sie erklären außerdem, wie sie Daten verwenden, um zu verstehen, welche Storys und Formate zu Abonnements führen.

Krautreporter is a member-funded magazine in Berlin, Germany, focused on engaged journalism. This means it works in close contact with its members, asking them for regular input, expertise, and contacts in the reporting process. Leon and Bent will discuss tools built to make surveys work toward membership growth and how data is used to understand what stories/formats convert to subscription.


By Hans Pauwels, Monia Ben Hamadi
Welcome remarks
How South China Morning Post combines audience growth with gender inclusion

In 2018, the South China Morning Post became the first major publication in Asia to introduce a newsroom initiative aimed at improving gender representation. Find out how the publication uses data to create content, and how Lunar - a weekly curated newsletter, designed to celebrate women in Asia and share stories that matter - empowers women inside and outside the news


By Natalie Koh
Pop-up journalism as a new budget approach to reach underserved audiences

Indigenous journalist Livia Manywounds was assigned to run a pop-up bureau for the Tsuut’ina First Nation, of which she is a member, as part of a CBC experiment in 2018 to reach smaller, underserved communities. Livia will share her experience operating a first of its kind Pop-up Bureau on a First Nation Community, the relationship she established with the audience as a journalist, and how their culture was shown through local news and mobile journalism.


By Livia Manywounds
Breakout Sessions in English, French and German

1. Solutions Journalism: a recipe for building a partnership with your audience (in English)

Engagement is highest in times of need like a pandemic. The Solutions Journalism network suggests that is key for media and journalists to foster deeper relationships with audiences as partners rather than as customers, It also believes it is crucial to write about how communities are rebuilding and reviving, as much as covering breakdowns, problems and collapse. How to do this?atThis workshop will take participants through 16 steps they can start using right away to build a better, more sustainable path forward. Participants should bring a topic they’d like to explore with this approach.

2. Comment a augmenté son adhésion et s’est diversifié vers d’autres domaines durant la pandémie?/How grew its membership and expanded into new areas during the pandemic (in French)

En tant que média spécialisé sur la science et la santé,, qui a été lancé en mai 2019, était préparé à couvrir la pandémie. Mais c’est sa flexibilité et son attention sur les besoins des lecteurs qui ont aidé la start-up suisse francophone à construire une crédibilité et a trouvé de nouveaux clients financeurs. Durant la pandémie, les questions du lecteur étaient à l’origine de la rédaction des articles. L’équipe a développé un nouveau format d’article, adapté leur newsletter du jour au lendemain et elle a augmenté le nombre de ses histoires rédigées à partir de données. Paul va nous expliquer comment est devenu une rédaction orientée vers son lectorat lors de la pandémie et comment cela a contribué à déterminer sa future stratégie.

As a science and health focused media launched in May 2019, was well prepared to cover a pandemic. But it was its flexibility and focus on readers’ needs that helped the Swiss-Francophone startup build credibility and find new paying customers. During the pandemic, reader’s questions became the starting point for written articles, the team developed a new article format, adapted a newsletter overnight and increased the number of data-driven stories. Paul will explain to us how became an audience-oriented newsroom during the pandemic and how that has helped shape its future strategy.

3. Wie man neue Produkte mit der richtigen Denkweise, fairen Prozessen und den passenden Strukturen entwickelt / How to develop a product mindset to reach new audiences (in German)

Norbert Grundei ist der Mastermind hinter den erfolgreichsten Podcasts in Deutschland: “Das Coronavirus Update” (NDRs Nummer 1 bei Spotify Deutschland seit Februar 2020); und “Deutschland3000” (wöchentlicher Podcast für Millennials) sowie einer Reihe von Social-Media-Videos für die Generationen X, Y und Z, mit über 84.000 Followers auf Instagram und 76.000 auf Facebook. Norbert wird uns seinen Weg zur Entwicklung dieser Produkte erläutern und dabei auf die Kernfragen eingehen: Ist meine Idee kreativ? Wird mein Produkt die gewünschte Zielgruppe ansprechen? Was ist der Aufhänger und wie schafft man ein erfolgreiches Produkt?

Norbert Grundei is the mastermind behind the most successful podcasts in Germany: Das Coronavirus Update (NDR’s number 1 on Spotify Germany since February 2020); and Deutschland3000, a millennial podcast and a series of social media videos aimed at generations X,Y and Z, that engages over 140,000 followers on Instagram & Facebook. Norbert will guide us through his journey in creating these products and answer the following questions: Is my idea creative? Will it engage the target audience? What’s the hook and how to create a successful product?


By Linda Shaw, Bridget Thoreson
Is it the right time to jump onto TikTok?

As the media reckoned with its own diversity struggles, its bias and homogeneous landscape became more evident than ever in 2020 when covering complex stories like the Coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter. Activists, community organisers and other information networks used their access and proximity to respond to community gaps in accessing news and information. New strategies and tactics from these groups led to community-first solutions that met essential information needs.

What can journalists learn from these collaborations and movements? How can we regain the trust of our communities? And can these efforts form part of a new type of membership strategy based not on revenue, but on elevating voices and driving change?


By Céline Semaan, Hannah Ajala (She/Her)


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