Uwaga! is a daily programme broadcast on TVN, a Polish TV network. Investigative in its form, Uwaga! tracks affairs, uncovers corruption, and helps common people. Our priority is to sustain and deepen the relationship with our audience. That is why the Uwaga! team chose to take a gamble on social listening.
Viewers call the Uwaga! Hotline and send e-mails and letters to tell us about their stories, and they expect support from our journalists. Our viewers also are good observers who provide us with new story ideas for Uwaga!
We have found the best way to connect with our viewers and gather ideas is via social media with #tematdlauwagi (English translation: #newsstoryforuwaga), and we read the writing on the social walls.
People publish their stories on social media using the hashtag #tematdlauwagi in public posts and our journalists monitor the posts in real time. People also pin on #tematdlauwagi when they comment on someone else’s post. Our editors choose what content gets featured on our broadcast.
We developed this real-time monitoring project three years ago. At first, we just followed and reacted to viewers’ stories. We wanted to strengthen the hashtag’s position in social media and teach viewers how to use it. Then in August 2018, we built a platform to analyse all the hashtag registration. The platform has tools that help us communicate with the users who post.
In November 2018, we launched a new Web site with a page dedicated only to reporting from #tematdlauwagi and connected it with the hashtag platform. This allows us to pin a single story to the social hashtag map — a part of the Uwaga! Web site, where readers can find many interesting viewers’ stories in different categories.
Communication with the audience via hashtag helps to boost our social media performance on multiple platforms: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. But we don’t really need fans. We need an engaged community gathered around the news we cover.
Early last year, we built the Facebook group as complement to the #tematdlauwagi project. This gave people a space to share full discussion. Group members promote our stories and help our editors and journalists find subjects and stories ideas for Uwaga! programmes.
The Facebook group and #tematdlauwagi are the fastest ways to share stories and amplify the voices of real people in the community — and even have them broadcast on TV or featured on our Web site.
Since inception, this project has generated 300,000 tags to mark interesting news, and 25% of monthly features broadcast on the Uwaga! programme come from #tematdlauwagi. The viewing rates on the Uwaga! Web page increased 45%. It also has effectively promoted our TV programme. During February and January, TV viewers used #tematdlauwagi 16,141 times. If we had bought that many paid Facebook posts promoting contact with the newsroom, it would have cost us US$1,322,254.