How Vía País produces, distributes all the news from Argentina through one outlet

By Francisco Rivarola

Cimeco (VíaPais)

Argentina

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The challenge of organising 45 newsrooms (our “nodes”) throughout Argentina is not simple. It’s even more challenging if one of the main goals of our media is to give voice to all 24 provinces and the country’s most populated cities.

At Vía País, we define ourselves as a federal news site, where local and national information are combined so users located anywhere in the country can access information according to their preferences.

Vía País is committed to making sure citizens across the country have access to relevant news through its 45 distributed desks.
Vía País is committed to making sure citizens across the country have access to relevant news through its 45 distributed desks.

Buenos Aires province is not the only region in Argentina nor is the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, though our political and economic organisations often make it seem that way. Disrupting this paradigm was one of Vía País’ original ideas, which is why we organise newsrooms in the capitals and most important cities of the country.

Each node generates news, which makes up a large network of information so users can have data from each locality without going through the filter of a “national media” outlet, which usually gives preference to information from the capital.

Readers may identify better and their problems are reflected in the provided information, which is why it’s necessary to generate affinity between media and the public. This is also the reason why a wide range of news about different topics is available on our site, according to their interests.

The interrelation between newsrooms is fluid, and each node provides information to build a complete news platform. Each node can take the notes from another and give it a place on its front page if necessary. A clear example of this may be any news generated in the province of Mendoza that refers to the flow of rivers. This would surely be used by the newsroom in La Pampa because that is where those same rivers continue their course.

The design of this network — combining breaking news, entertainment, political and economic analysis, and federal notes with a social perspective — gives the reader an idea of how the same issue impacts different parts of the country. One example is the regional economies note providing analysis of the coronavirus quarantine’s impact on regions. This allows users to have a dynamic experience with information by topic, region, or location.

We have a staff of young, highly adaptable, capable journalists presenting news in a dynamic way. They think about both the people reading from their smartphones and those who reading from their desktop computers. Likewise, our staff participates in journalistic Facebook and Chequeado (the leading fact checking site in Argentina) initiatives and various Google trainings.

Creating a brand and mass medium from zero requires additional effort to reach the audience. Vía País determinedly bet on social networks, where people also find a channel of expression. In this way, we actively take the news to where the public is.

Considering readers have different preferences when it comes to consuming news, we take advantage of the various formats available (notes, photos, videos, and live interviews) to inform. But the fundamental thing about our project is reflecting everything that happens around the country, nothing each region’s particularities. (This data collection and price comparison in large supermarkets throughout the country is an example.)

The measurements of getting to know our audience is work constantly carried out by specialists in the field and those who have fluid communication channels with the journalistic team. They are able to apply this analysis to developed topics and are in touch with issues that have an impact on users abroad.

The quarantine and need to work remotely was not a problem because the relationship between Vía País newsrooms is virtual. Only the minor, busiest workplaces had to be organised. However, the effect of working from home was an improvement in journalist performance with a sustained increase in traffic, reaching a record 20 million readers in July — an audience comparable to the large traditional media in Argentina.

Vía País seeks to be a snapshot of the news on everything that is happening in the country at any given time, whether in the capital or in a small country town.

Banner image courtesy of Herbert Brant from Pixabay | Adobestock.

About Francisco Rivarola

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