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Breaking Good: How Bergens Tidende Transformed its Breaking News Machinery
2024 Finalist

Breaking Good: How Bergens Tidende Transformed its Breaking News Machinery

Bergens Tidende

Bergen, Norway

Category Newsroom Development

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

During the pandemic, the entire editorial team worked with breaking news for months on end. We recognized the need for a skill upgrade and a systematisation of our working methods, both for the journalists and for leaders. Once the pandemic subsided, we initiated significant efforts to enhance BT's breaking news machinery.

 

  1. Bootcamps: With mandatory training for the entire newsroom called "Working with Breaking News" and "Leading During Major Events," followed by mandatory debriefs, we made everyone secure and competent in handling breaking events. We also implemented continuously updated manuals and checklists. 

  1. Change of culture: The importance of breaking news has been emphasised in evaluations and is a part of  BT's overall strategy, supported by data. Our publishing strategy, launched in 2023, prioritises the most significant breaking story. We fostered a culture of shared resources across teams. Additionally, all journalists rotate through the news desk, boosting their skill set.

  2. BreakingBot: In 2023, our game-changing Bot streamlined our workflow for major events. A simple keystroke initiates an incident, creating a dedicated Slack channel and Google folder, inviting relevant individuals. Journalists link events to locations effortlessly, whereupon the bot compiles property owner information for the address and crafts a ready-to-publish map. It auto-publishes tailored checklists for journalists, controlling information flow. Leveraging Schibsteds AI tool, it automates interview summaries.

  3. Widgets and monitors: Our data journalists have developed various widgets, combining external data and our own monitors in the field. Widgets display information about floods, closed mountain roads, the position of rescue helicopters or wind speeds. In addition, monitors alert the newsroom of various urgent information.

  4. User needs: In breaking news events users need more than just the latest update. We use our own data, reader inquiries and trends from Google to understand the questions readers have. Consequently, we create more explanatory journalism within breaking news. A data analyst within our team has used machine learning to create a tool that recognizes these needs, ensuring that we constantly understand how to deliver. 


Results for this campaign

In 2023, BT reached an all time high in our key engagement metric: daily active subscribers. This success was substantially driven by breaking events such as elections, storms, fires and major traffic incidents. The growth continues in 2024, with large breaking news events resulting in new engagement records. 

 

Addressing user needs within breaking news has not only increased our reach and boosted subscription sales, but has also made BT more relevant and responsive to people's queries.

 

Several engagement metrics have seen a significant boost, with higher click rates from our front page and increased time spent on the platform. Notably, the most engaging article is a breaking news product, specifically related to live traffic updates. We sold over 3000 subscriptions through this product alone last year. 

 

BreakingBot has been a game-changer. It has transformed the way BT operates during breaking events, dramatically reducing time spent on research in the initial phase and making collaboration easier, thereby elevating our competitiveness against other media outlets. It is evolving with additional features weekly, for instance it now automates interview transcripts with the help of Schibsted’s AI tool. As far as is known, the bot stands as the only one of its kind globally. 

 

When word of our bot got out, naturally it attracted interest from other news media. Today Schibsted newspapers VG and Aftenposten are also using the tool. Together, we will develop it further, with BT in the front seat. 

 

The tools, widgets, and platforms we have developed in this project have enabled Bergens Tidende to win more news battles, save time during critical moments, enhance cross-departmental collaboration within the editorial team, and increased knowledge among all involved. 

 

Through change management, we have systematically transformed the way the editorial team works and collaborates. This has not only impacted traditional breaking journalism like accidents and fires but has also enhanced journalism in various areas by introducing several methods that have spread throughout the entire newsroom.

 


Contact

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