TagesWoche is a new Swiss newspaper aiming to bring together print and online content in the interests of transparency, media freedom and a Basel community still shocked by the sale of its city’s paper to unwanted investors. Sourcefabric built their new converged newsroom.
When a handful of Basel-based editors, journalists and designers met in April 2011, they discussed how to fill the void that remained following the controversial sale of the Basler Zeitung to suspected right-wing owners. Six months later a staff of 30 professional journalists were launching a newspaper with transparency and community at its core and a convergent print-online newsroom built on open source software from Sourcefabric. TagesWoche was born.
Based in Basel with a nationwide distribution, TagesWoche's (The Daily Week) editorial team produce daily news and commentary on the website. Every Friday, TagesWoche's print issue comes out nationwide with additional background information and in-depth analysis.
The innovative concept has already gained interest beyond national boundaries. The campaign running up to the launch attracted over 5000 subscribers for the print issue while the first print issue consisted of 64 pages with a circulation of 100,000 and a format new to Switzerland (halbrheinisch, 26x36 cm).
The least visible part of the whole TagesWoche operation is, in some ways, the most innovative. TagesWoche's newsroom is built on Newscoop, an open source content management system (CMS) developed by not-for-profit Czech organisation Sourcefabric. Over 20 new features were designed in close collaboration with the TagesWoche team to fit the journalists' desired toolset of InDesign and InCopy.
"Going beyond common web and print solutions, TagesWoche needed a news platform for that was flexible, cost-effective and scalable, " explained Sourcefabric co-founder Sava Tatić. "The developmental agility of open source software allowed us to build a complicated convergence of news feeds, editorial content and community input that outputs effortlessly to print, online and mobile platforms in only three months."
The star of the show is Sourcefabric's Printdesk, which brings print and online processes into one workflow. On creation in the layout software InDesign, each article automatically receives a unique ID (the Webcode) which can be called into the print layout and functions as a short link to the corresponding article on the web. This allows the editorial team to develop additional material for the online version while the print design is still underway and dramatically increases the speed of delivering the print content to the online readers.
TagesWoche strives to keep content relevant and local. Newscoop's Feed Ingest was custom fit to integrate external newswire feeds into the editorial process meaning TagesWoche journalists can pull in and publish reliable national and international news automatically, allowing them to focus on quality, investigative and local journalistic work.
Features like Article of the Day, Recommended Comments, the Weekly Debate and playlists for popular content allow the journalists to easily recycle and reuse material to efficiently keep the site both fresh and up-to-date for community interests. Storyboard allows reporters to crowdsource local investigative work and Dossiers go deep into subjects the local community cares about most. Every article uses in-depth, geolocative data to position the news at the heart of the community.
Community is at the heart of TagesWoche. The platform is free to join – registered users can comment, follow topics, watch community activity feeds, and make use of the Omnibox, a new mode of engagement on every page where readers can share not just text, but audio, pictures and documents that relate to an article, either publicly or privately with the article's author. To maintain transparency, every TagesWoche article has a 'flipside' with an impressum, list of sources and revision history.
"We believe the times where journalists alone decide what's news are over," said Co-executive editor team Remo Leupin on launch day. "Today's media landscape is diverse. TagesWoche is open to the community to bring in news, discuss issues and set trends for the publication."
Reading TagesWoche on the move is also vital for the hardworking Baslers. A dedicated web app was built to look great on a range of tablets and smartphones from iPads to Blackberries and was built on the open source Sencha Touch framework. "TagesWoche stands for innovative, quality journalism and engages into close dialogue with its readers following cutting-edge technological possibilities, " explained co-executive editor Urs Buess.
Entering a new publication into an established media landscape is not easy. Sustainability requires profitability and TagesWoche are business innovators too. The Tageswoche Subscription Shop offers a range of subscription print offers, while online TagesWoche material is freely accessible, but Pay What You Like allows individuals to microdonate on an article by article basis. A mix of print and online advertisements appeals to a range of commercial interests, with future plans to add hyperlocal classified ads and coupon offers set to extend the paper's revenue sources further.
For more information on how Sourcefabric's expertise and software helps newsrooms, please contact Micz Flor.
Publisher: Neue Medien Basel AG
Ci-/Webdesign: Matthias Last, Manuel Bürger
Printing: Zehnder Druck AG, Wil