Reimagining the future of digital storytelling

Redefining the newspaper

Over the last few years, traditional media has experienced both crisis and revolution. Back in 2010, it seemed everyone was ready to declare that print was finally dead, even before its pulse had really stopped. And newspapers weren’t the only industry under siege, television and magazine publishing felt the effects of users turning to the Internet as the first source to gather news. After all, with real-time social sharing tools allowing for easy curation of content, users often rely on their social networks to provide them with the news they crave.

Swedish media giant Bonnier knew that to appeal to this new audience of hyper-social, digital-savvy content junkies, they would need a radical new approach to news consumption. Bonnier came to Fjord to reimagine the newspaper of the future and design an innovative news platform that would transform reader engagement.

Fjord teams tackled every aspect of redefining the newspaper, from the creation of new business models to the nitty gritty of a reader’s every interaction. Fjord rose to the challenge that many media providers continue to grapple with: how to provide a digital service that is of such exclusive high quality that users would be willing to pay for it. This meant designing a platform that would appeal to those printed newspaper loyalists and the hard-to-reach digital natives who harness free aggregation services for their daily dish of news.

Mobilizing the newsroom

In tackling this new approach to the newspaper, Fjord designed News+Live in collaboration with Bonnier’s R&D team, a platform that enables a remarkably different experience than one would find with a traditional newspaper or even a web platform. By combining the new mobile possibilities of a tablet, like real-time social connectivity and quick updates, with the editorial depth and curation of a seasoned newspaper, Fjord worked with Bonnier to create the ultimate platform for modern storytelling.

The content is delivered daily like a traditional newspaper reading experience, but readers have the ability to filter and curate the news that is important to them. The front page is updated in real-time, but the platform creates a collection of the latest news in a separate section to make it even easier to digest without feeling overwhelmed. With interactive graphics and high resolution videos, the design of the platform is able to push the limits of visual storytelling, while filtering out the chaos of the web.

When readers want to be more connected, they have the ability to swap reading lists with their peers or share favorite articles with their social networks.

Subscribers can even communicate with writers and editors within an article, creating a direct relationship between readers and content creators – like a modern day digital letter to the editor. To truly elevate the content across technologies, the platform gives readers the ability to receive bite-size push updates to their mobile phone, keeping them aware of the news that is most salient to them. Later, when readers want to dive more deeply into the content on their preferred device, whether it is the tablet or their desktop, the articles are automatically updated for them.

Going to “press”

After its iPad launch in November 2010, approximately 50% of  iPad users in Sweden have downloaded the platform and about 15% of those readers have a subscription. Due to this overwhelmingly positive response and increased user engagement, the News+ design principles and concepts have been incorporated into a variety of Bonnier’s media organizations.

Fjord and Bonnier continue to collaborate on radical new platforms for media and push the boundaries for digital storytelling. In the meantime: welcome to the future.