Overview of this campaign
Being Swedes’ primary source of news during a pandemic and social crisis demands a great deal of an editorial team. Aftonbladet must handle an enormous news flow and massive readership interest while remaining critical of its sources, factual and correct. And at a time when most are working individually from home.
That is a challenge in itself.
The newspaper recognized its responsibility early, responding to the demands with a unique and acclaimed live chat. The chat became the campfire around which we gathered to receive updates on Covid-19 and the contagion. To ask questions and get answers.
That campfire has been burning around the clock since January 25 and shows how innovative journalism can, in difficult times, help society and counterbalance rumors spreading in social networks.
Although the pandemic had only just begun when Corona Live began, interest among readers was enormous from day one.
Aftonbladet, which seeks every day to capture what Swedes are discussing, became one of those subjects itself. The need for factual and relevant information among readers was considerable and Aftonbladet’s Corona chat met that need.
When interest peaked in March and April, readers submitted an average 3.6 questions every minute, around the clock.
“At the most intense time, the system overloaded. We couldn’t possibly answer everyone,” says Nivette Dawod.
It is by being relevant and credible that a relationship with the reader is formed, even when reporters are sitting at their kitchen tables.
Aftonbladet’s live corona pandemic chat serves primarily convey news quickly and accurately, but it is also a way of meeting the tremendous need in society for someone to listen to people’s concerns and to give feedback.
Results for this campaign
During the pandemic, there has been considerable need for factual and relevant information. Aftonbladet’s readers find this in the Corona chat. When interest culminated in March and April, readers submitted an average 3.6 questions every minute, around the clock. The technical systems reached capacity. Readers have expressed overwhelming love. Notes of thanks and motivation are pouring in. A year after the premiere, the live chat still attracts a million viewers daily.
Soon, Aftonbladet’s Corona chat will have had half a billion visits and more than 500,000 interactions with readers in the form of questions/posts.
The principal objective of the live chat is to convey news and information quickly and accurately, but also to meet needs in society and among individuals for someone to hear and respond to concerns. We are seeing how new habits are forming, with interaction with readers returning to the media house after years on social networks.
Science journalist and author Karin Bojs tweeted to one of the reporters behind the chat, Nivette Dawod: “You are doing an incredible job. Such a nice tone! So factual! Definitely among my top-five pandemic journalists in Sweden.”
In the autumn of 2020, Nivette Dawod was nominated for the Stora journalistpriset journalism award as Innovator of the Year. “No questions are too minor, no reader unwelcome. She is calm in the storm and the editorial team’s warm, comforting voice,” wrote the jury in its motivation.
The live chat is an important part of something larger that Aftonbladet built because of the Corona pandemic and has helped bring readers together. In addition to the traditional news coverage, some 30 specialist chats bring experts, physicians, psychologists, sociologists, economists, and others together with readers to respond to their questions.