When markets crashed and Norwegians went into lockdown in early March, it soon became evident to us what Dagens Næringsliv’s mission would be: To provide users with insight and up-to-date news on how the combination of a pandemic and free-falling oil prices would shape our job market, business community, and economy in the months or even years to come.
Running coronavirus news coverage from day one was a given. But a situation like this gave us reason to explore how we could help our users:
- Stay up-to-date at a glance.
- Sort through the never-ending cascade of ongoing news for the most important COVID-19-related stories each day.
- Get answers to their questions on how the economic consequences of the pandemic would impact their own businesses or everyday life.
- Find and document — through data — how the Norwegian economy and business community was impacted as pandemic-related consequences started shaping our society.
While settling into home offices and juggling record high content production and unparalleled levels of interest from digital users, our newsroom, product development, and user revenue departments embarked on quick innovation projects in just three weeks. For some of these we partnered with Norkon Computing System, a Norwegian tech start-up in which DN holds a minority share and with whom we’ve collaborated for years.
The initiatives we were able to deploy included:
- In just two days, we launched a coronavirus news studio, providing a quick platform to report the latest developments. In less than a week, we were able to provide live video streaming from press conferences and government events as part of this service – something we’ve not had the capabilities to do before, but were able to learn from the home offices.
- By Tuesday, March 9, we premiered DN’s first-ever pop-up newsletter (for DN subscribers only), offering a summary of the day’s most important coronavirus/economy stories. An introduction written and signed by our on-duty frontpage editor provides a personal touch and helps subscribers connect more closely with the DN brand. After just three days, almost 2,500 recipients had signed up for the newsletter (our subscriber base is approximately 60,000) and after six weeks, we were delivering COVID-19-related news to the inboxes of more than 4,100 subscribers six days a week.
- We developed a new Q&A feature for our Web site in collaboration with Norkon CS, allowing readers to ask renowned experts questions about their rights as employees or employers during the crisis, how to best handle their personal finances when stock markets and oil prices were in free fall, or how to help their business stay afloat in financially troubling times. One of our reporters took charge of establishing a network of experts to ask for advice, and this quickly became a popular feature.
- Our data journalism and editorial development team undertook a monumental task: finding data to help DN and readers track the pandemic’s effect on the Norwegian economy. A first version of The Corona Effect was published April 1. The service allowed users to get both an at-a-glance overview of the current state of the economy and explore our database of coronavirus effects in their local business community. The service was updated continually until summer, tracking unemployment and furlough numbers, transportation data changes, companies receiving government relief funds, and more. We were able to get data from sources who don’t normally report live data as a source for journalism, such as population spending data from Norway’s biggest bank or current interest rates on home mortgages.
Success reflected by subscriptions
During the pandemic, the number of new subscriptions soared both in the B2B and B2C customer segments, and audience engagement reached record highs.
We believe our combined efforts at providing high-quality news coverage while launching new initiatives to help audiences navigate troubling times brought us many new potential readers, all the while enforcing DN’s reputation for high quality news and information from the Norwegian business sector.