Telegraph provides play-by-play from election night

By Hannah Ohm Thomas


London, United Kingdom


The highly anticipated UK general election captivated people from across the world with news brands’ brilliant reporting and expert analysis. The latest industry data shows that UK journalism reaches 48 million people a month — 5 million more than Facebook and 6 million more than Google.

And the numbers are growing.

In the past year, an extra 2 million people have read online news journalism every day. This growth is fuelled by increased trust in quality and consumption of news journalism happening across an ever-broader array of platforms.

Immediately after polls closed, The Telegraph began publishing content across all of its platforms.
Immediately after polls closed, The Telegraph began publishing content across all of its platforms.

On election day itself, while the polls are open, there can be no campaigning by the parties and no media can comment or predict the outcome. But come 10:00 p.m., the exit polls go live and everything changes.

The Telegraph’s head of digital news, Catherine Bentley, describes how the drama of election night unfolded.

“To provide the best coverage of an event such as an election involves months of planning with designers, coders, data journalists, SEO, and social experts as well as the editors, writers, and picture desk. From the run-up, we knew it was going to be a big night as our respected team of journalists and unique voting tools had been delivering huge subscriber acquisitions.

At 10:00 p.m., it was like a starting gun had been fired. Instantly there was a huge spike in traffic as the exit polls were revealed. Our graphs and interactive trackers sprang into life, their colourful visualisations making the story easy to follow for millions. Live blogs always prove powerful — chronologically recording events with charts, graphs, infographics, and all the reaction, including that from social.

Central to the story is data, and our forecaster, which uses machine learning and a wealth of insights past and present, was able to call the outcome with unrivalled accuracy.

Being able to predict the questions people want answered is vital. Being able to answer them on the platforms that are native to them is crucial. This year, our livestream coverage on YouTube proved incredibly popular. Our pop-up election WhatsApp group quickly reached capacity, and our fun Snap lens became a top 3 hit.

While digital satisfies instantly, the luxury of print continues to provide the perfect canvas to reflect. On election night we published four editions spanning the news cycle, with the last one going off stone at 4:30 a.m. to provide the best opinion and analysis for the record numbers who loyally turn to the news stands for big events like this.

By 10:00 a.m., there were 40 articles at the top of our home page covering all aspects of the result, from what it means for Brexit to your wallet.”

With the direction of the country now clearer, attention is moving toward Europe. Once again, news brands will be the go-to source for those keen to understand the new deals and opportunities they offer — a perfect context for brands that love political play and highly engaged audiences, as brilliantly demonstrated by Fortnum & Mason.

About Hannah Ohm Thomas

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