La Voz de Galicia shares 5 pillars of community support during pandemic

By Lorena Maya

La Voz de Galicia

Arteixo, Galicia, Spain

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When the COVID-19 outbreak started in mid-March, we knew our duty was to continue being an essential, useful service within our small local communities. Founded in 1882, La Voz de Galicia serves 13 different local areas in northwest Spain, a region rapidly affected by the pandemic.

We demonstrated to our readers that, just as in the past 138 years, La Voz was by their side — not only to provide them with independent journalism, but also to answer their questions, connect them with experts, tell their stories, and to entertain, when necessary. All that was done while maintaining our subscription model.

Our “We Are Your Voice” campaign aimed to inform, support, give hope, and provide a voice to our readers during the health emergency. Although at first it was far from a structured plan, it was the best we could do while facing an unknown scenario and quarantine at the same time.

LVG implemented several changes in the main newsroom to be able to continue delivering information to local communities.
LVG implemented several changes in the main newsroom to be able to continue delivering information to local communities.

One of our first steps was to let our readers see our daily work and to thank them for their support. The multiple initiatives in campaign included direct help to our subscribers, newsletters, videos, specials, and space for debate. This was possible thanks to a dedicated team of journalists who quickly adapted to working remotely. Slack and Meets turned into our best allies to plan and execute the campaign. All content was distributed online, in print, and in social media.

The five guidelines of “We Are Your Voice” are:

  • Support: We offered the vast majority of our COVID content for free and announced discounts corresponding to the suspension of the service for bars and restaurants closed due to the lockdown. LVG managed to maintain circulation, reaching 2,000 kiosks and 40,000 households daily, and increased digital sales.
  • Inform: We turned our daily newsletters into COVID-19 bulletins that were sent in the morning and evening, reaching 80,000 readers and increasing our open rates. We also developed a pandemic dashboard to display crucial figures and live information so everyone could be informed at a glance.
  • Experts’ and readers’ voices: Through several Q&As, we directly connected our readers with experts to answer their main concerns about the pandemic. We published three specials both in print and digital, only for subscribers, which gathered the opinion of more than 40 experts to help our readers give sense to the “new normal.” We also shared our readers’ stories from those on the front line and at home coping with isolation, so we offered space for them to share their feelings and experiences.
  • Give hope and entertain: Since the first day of lockdown, we started publishing a “good news” daily page with donations, recoveries, kind initiatives, and solidarity stories. We published a series of daily training video exercises to do at home and developed a series of curated emails with recommendations and encouraging stories. We also shared a video showing all the beautiful places Galicia has to offer when this ended.
  • Build trust: As people turned to us for information, we felt it was the right moment to show them our work and be transparent, so we allowed our readers to attend a live streaming of our morning editorial meeting and produced a mini documentary, showing how La Voz adapted in this critical time to continue reporting.
As part of "We Are Your Voice," LVG did a live streaming of its March 18 morning editorial meeting, available on the Web site and on Facebook.
As part of "We Are Your Voice," LVG did a live streaming of its March 18 morning editorial meeting, available on the Web site and on Facebook.

The response from readers in terms of audience and engagement has been overwhelming. The videos had over 1.3 million views and tens of thousands of interactions, and the Q&As with experts received hundreds of responses.

We also experienced a surge in subscriptions. We entered March 2020 with with an 11-month paywall experience and 3,490 digital-only subscribers. By May 15, we doubled that figure, reaching over 8,000.

In late May, we gave families space to remember their COVID-19 victims, a memorial to their loved ones.

Banner photo courtesy of Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay.

About Lorena Maya

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