Didier Hamann, general manager of Le Soir, shared his experiences with convergence at the INMA European Conference Thursday, all of which can be applied to peers throughout Europe.

1. Think print. Do not pretend to think digitally. Digital is not publishing articles on Web before print. LeSoir needed to do 10 things:

  • Think the story globally.

  • Use Web as a starting point.

  • Make print later, but …

  • Wake up earlier.

  • Use crowdsearching.

  • Have conversations with readers.

  • Integrate developers and designers.

  • Resurface “old” news creatively.

  • Promote content.

  • Take advantage of the mobile.

There are many news media companies that keep saying the same message, Hamann said: “We are digital.” But they’re either not doing it at all, or doing it badly. It’s very important is to collect information, prioritise constant follow-up of news, and involve new talents (designers). 

2. Rejuvenate. The age of employees in the newsroom pyramid was a problem. There were too many readers ages 40 to 60. What they needed was a group aged 20 to 40.

To solve this problem, LeSoir started the “#25” project. The company hired a dozen young journalists to help invigorate the newsroom, concentrating on topics that are more interesting for young readers, to spotlight their words. LeSoir even asked them to meet ministers and they can discuss the topics that the youth is concerned about.

As the “old” journalists became interested in new topics, there was new energy for covering news. The working atmosphere in the newsroom completely changed.

LeSoir also started a series of articles where views of the young meet the conservative ones. The young journalists are now engaged in a lot of HR projects, communication projects to share experiences.

3. Don’t overprice the content. LeSoir is aware that only a small number of readers will pay for content, so media companies need to give them something. With this in mind, LeSoir: 

  • Keeps enriching the information.

  • Adds services to the news.

  • Improves convenience.

  • Enhance brand value.

4. Cultivate new communities of readers.