Technological advancement, new competitors and audiences who want content accessible whenever and wherever they require across multiple platforms, has made it extremely vital for newsrooms to be innovative in new and creative ways. In journalism this year major newsrooms have been taking risks and experimenting with the latest technology and storytelling platforms. These experiments were highlighted in the Trends in Newsrooms report. But this report also highlighted the fact that these news outlets such as the The New York Times, BBC and The Guardian have the resources in their hands.
The report released by WAN-IFRA looked beyond these large outlets and gave a spotlight to smaller newsrooms that are also innovating in big ways and engaging in experimental storytelling. Brian Veseling, WAN-IFRA’s senior editor, states that “Frequently, stories about innovation focus on developments from publishers such as The New York Times and The Guardian, and while these companies have an amazing record of achievement, there are many other news publishers around the world who are also undertaking efforts to inform and engage their audiences in new and intriguing ways.”
Below are some smaller outlets in which have ignored their size and achieved success in thinking outside the box and being creatively inventive.
VietnamPlus, in Vietnam used the art of rap to draw in the attention of a younger audience. The news anchors at this outlet rap the news of the day set to hip-hop music. Editor-in-chief stated that it took some convincing to get the newsroom management to agree to the idea, but it obviously paid off as the initial video released gained 1 million views after being online for only 48 hours. RapNews is now a regular part of this newsroom and a youtube channel RapNewsPlus is completely dedicated to the segment.
The newspaper Mawbima in Sri Lanka used it’s paper to tackle and bring recognition to a major health problem. Dengue fever infected close to 46,000 people in 2014 and in order to help with the spread of this deadly disease, the paper imprinted it’s pages with mosquito repellent. Mawbima found that mixing citronella essence, which repels mosquitos, with ink, the paper itself would stop mosquitos biting. The paper also ran articles on how to prevent dengue and gave mosquito repellent patches to schoolchildren.
De Morgen, a Flemish daily newspaper has been applauded for experimenting with the visual layout of their paper in order to set them apart from competitors. The paper focuses on a visually appealing layout to present their content in an interesting way. The format of the newspaper was changed from Broadsheet to Berlin which introduced a very modern and unique page-layout. Innovative ideas can been seen throughout the entire paper. De Morgen creates a youthful, positive and future-orientated image and was named one of the four newspapers in the world with the best design from the Society for News Design.
Innovation isn’t just about using new technology to engage audiences, but creatively incorporating new ideas and ways shake up the usual ways of the newsroom or paper in order to gain attention and appreciation from a wider audience.