Local News From Everywhere

Verlagshaus_NordkurierRejuvenating the newspaper and making it more attractive – the Nordkurier offers its readers exactly the content that interests them: More local impact and news from the region by using the innovative desk reporter principle. This is based on and an intelligent editorial solution, as well as tablets instead of pencil and paper in the hands of young journalists reporting anytime anywhere.

In 2012, those responsible at the Nordkurier decided to find out exactly where these interests lie. How do readers work their way through the newspaper? Which articles, headlines and pictures are popular with readers? When do they stop reading an article? A reader scan survey answered these questions, making it clear that Nordkurier readers are especially interested in local stories that go as far as hyperlocal topics.

The publishing house then reached a significant decision: to introduce the desk reporter principle based on Content-X, the editorial solution developed by ppi Media and Digital Collections. This reorganization introduced a clearly defined division of work between the head of the desk, editors and reporters. In the daily routine of journalism, this works as follows: each of the Nordkurier sites employs its own reporters. They’re out on the road throughout Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, researching stories, collecting photos and material for their texts, carrying out interviews and so creating more local impact for their readers. The reporters upload their texts and photos in a media-neutral format to the Digital Asset Management System DC-X, which the head of the desk can then access at their editorial office. They select which content will be published in which channel and do the layout for the daily newspaper in InDesign, while the reporters create variations of their stories for different media channels. This makes the editorial workflow easier and more efficient.

Expanding to include tablets: the Simple UI

As soon as this principle proved its effect, the Nordkurier then took the next step and equipped its trainee journalists with tablets. The Simple UI, DC-X’s newly developed, easy-to-use Graphical User Interface, enables them to report more flexibly in a more mobile and advanced manner. The Simple UI dispenses with certain elements from Content-X’s comprehensive range of services, which is geared specifically to desktop use, and concentrates on the four most important key functions: showing news agencies in the news cloud, archive research, creating content in the Story Editor and uploading files. And thanks to the smart cover and touch-sensitive keyboard, even typing goes fast.

“Our trainees have been working with these tablets and DC-X’s simplified GUI since September 2014,” said Rainer Zimmer, Head of IT Services at Nordkurier Mediengruppe. “We wanted to relieve our employees from using heavy technology and, by giving them lightweight, simple systems, create the prerequisites for uploading stories in a quick and sophisticated way to the editorial system, leaving them with more time for research.”

“The team is enthusiastic about our modern working methods. Content-X gets our reporters away from working at their desks and gives them the freedom to research right at the center of the action. They capture stories on site, create texts and photos in DC-X on their tablets and send everything to the head of the desk at the editorial office – from anywhere and everywhere,” Marica Verjaal, Head of Media Services at Nordkurier Mediengruppe, explained.

The young journalists no longer have to return to the editorial office from wherever they are reporting. Instead, they can upload their content directly to the desk. All they need is their tablet and Internet access.

“This kind of reporting is fast, easy and flexible; it’s popular with our readers. Continuously ongoing analyses on reading value show us that this principle has proven its effectiveness and increases the attraction of our newspaper,” Marica Verjaal added.

The quality of the newspaper’s full-run pages was also improved, because general political topics and agencies’ reports are not simply copied, but analyzed and post-edited with regard to their significance for the people living in this region. Last but not least, the implementation of Content-X has also resulted in cost benefits: the many cost-effective, web-based workplaces have replaced the more expensive traditional ones.

Content-X: one system for all channels

The Nordkurier has been using Content-X since 2013. This editorial solution offers many advantages. It is quick and easy to integrate; it can be used intuitively and enables especially efficient multi-channel publishing. Content that is created in the web-based Digital Asset Management DC-X is stored in a media-neutral format until it is published for online, mobile, tablet and print. In particular, the Nordkurier profits from the interface to the layout tool, InDesign, which Nordkurier Mediengruppe uses for designing its daily newspapers. The system is also suitable for other publications.

Facts and figures

The Nordkurier is published Mondays to Saturdays in 13 local editions. It is read by 230,000 people in Western Pomerania, the Mecklenburg Lake District and the Uckermark district, both as a print version and online.

The paper is published by Nordkurier Mediengruppe. Apart from daily newspapers, the publishing house’s fields of business include giveaway papers, magazines, television, online portals, apps, print, logistics and communication services. The “Nordkurier-Briefdienst”, a mail delivery service, delivers 150,000 letters every day, making it the largest private postal service provider in north-eastern Germany. During the past years, this corporate group has invested more than ten million euros in its printing site, developing it into one of the most modern service providers.

Text: ppi Media, February 2015