Magnus Alselind, Managing Editor of Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, narrated the Expressen’s journey from being a print-only publication to becoming an online publisher and television channel, on the February 24t, in WAN-IFRA’s 11th Middle East Conference.
Alselind, who came to speak on behalf of the Editor-in-Chief of Expressen, Thomas Mattsson, spoke about the importance of bringing changes to the newsroom and how to spur rapid product innovation on the long run.
He began his speech by familiarising the audience to Sweden’s top companies and internet apps such as Skype, Truecaller and then moved on to introducing The Expressen newspaper and its position and circulation in Sweden.
Alselind then moved on to the main topic of this session, changing the newsroom, and here he explained the strategy that The Expressen followed in changing their publication from typical journalism to something much more than that. Alselind said that the three main key points to changing the newsroom were: partnerships, digital culture, and videos.
He also discussed the changes they made in detail, such as the designs of their buildings, and the total change of the technology used in their offices. “When it came to infrastructure, we implemented digital culture, we changed our showrooms from typical showrooms to ones inspired from Apple and Samsung showrooms” then he added: “We had data everywhere, we bought 200 screens where the data and statistics are visualized”
The Expressen implanted screens to show statistics for everything from Delivery, Google trends, Facebook posts shared, targeted audiences to the most popular videos going viral.
“We put real time traffic evaluation analysts in the office.”
Alselind also talked about a gender statistics screen that shows the amount of articles written about men and the articles that are being written about women, and emphasized on the importance of writing on both men and women equally, on that he said: “Our goal is to reach a 50/50 percentage hopefully”.
All these drastic changes did not stop the publication from going on with its traditional journalism, “we are the most selling newspaper, and now we’re almost as relevant digitally, these changes don’t stop us from doing traditional journalism as it is important to keep all types of readers on our side”.
He then went on to talk about the importance of video, and on that, he said that video is the new must have and that The Expressen is trying to make videos available everywhere, from Apple TV to Chromecast and Smart TV. “After all these changes, the viewership on mobile phones had risen from 2m viewers to 5m viewers, the younger generation prefer videos”.
The managing editor also talked about The Expressen’s new partnership with CNN,” when it came to television, we partnered with CNN, we can show live videos from their feed, and they can show ours, this gave the vibe that we are serious about television” Alselind said.
He then added: ”we wanted a real cultural change, and we needed to act upon not not just visualize it”. He added,”In March we are going to implement the new Vizrt system when we launch our new channel, it’s a green screen technique that looks similar to what the CNN is currently using”.
Alselind concluded his speech by emphasizing on the importance of bringing change to the newsroom and how The Expressen’s success was not possible without these drastic changes.