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TTELA documentary delivers the sights, sounds of local journalism

By Emma-Karin Björk

TTELA

Trollhättan, Västra Götaland, Sweden

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It has become clear in the last few years that good journalism is more than “just a good story.” Our audience expects so much more in how we optimise content and package it in the best way possible.

That is what we are doing with TTELA Documentary — a full multimedia experience with articles linking to a podcast, videos highlighting the visual story, and social media getting the word out.

The TTELA Documentary embraces the full spectrum of multimedia tools.
The TTELA Documentary embraces the full spectrum of multimedia tools.

Reaching a larger audience

The traditional local newspaper has historically played a democratic role as a natural part of the community and readers’ morning routines. 

But the world has grown larger, and readers have a lot more choices on where to learn about what is going on in the world and in their community. 

In the last two years, TTELA has transitioned into a digital news media site in addition to a traditional newspaper, and the transformation is happening fast. With TTELA Documentary, we are taking the transformation farther and faster. 

News updates are always available on your phone, but that often requires focused attention to read an article, watch a video, or notice a news flash. Yet, when listening to a podcast you can drive, ride a bike, or participate in other activities. That is a brilliant opportunity for TTELA to reach out to a much bigger audience. 

Using audio when its right

Our first audio documentary in 2019 told the story about a murder in the small town Vänersborg in three parts. Since then, we have produced another five podcasts. They have been listened to more than 70,000 times. 

The project has now developed to include video. During the pandemic, our viewers have been able to follow two nurses’ video blogs about their experiences working during the pandemic. And with our latest project — studentvloggarna/the studentvlogs — readers can follow three young adults as they share stories about their last days in school as they advance to graduation amid a pandemic. 

The latest project follows three young adults during their last days in school before graduating.
The latest project follows three young adults during their last days in school before graduating.

We talk a lot about the benefits of audio projects, and we continuously make active choices when deciding what content we should use across channels. Some material needs to be shown through video, and sometimes you only have the words. 

Storytelling with just audio can be magical. The sound of someone’s voice can be intimate and intense. Hearing the voice of someone telling a really good story can top the experience of watching something — it can even help the listener visualise his or her own images.  

Though making documentaries is time-consuming and challenging for a resource-limited local newsroom, it brings creativity and depth to TTELA’s storytelling. We all learn from those with experience in radio and other audio projects — and each other — as we grow.

The element of surprise

We take our mission of presenting journalism in a relevant and exciting way seriously. We don’t want our audience to settle, but to be surprised. And documentaries are one way we can do that. Working in this way is paying off in engagement and audience growth. We have listeners from around the world, and our local audience realises that TTELA is much more than a newspaper.

About Emma-Karin Björk

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