Partal was accustomed to change. But when social media came along, he needed to rethink everything, from how to approach news to how to interact with readers.
The new approach puts social media first. Partal says it’s about talking and interacting with the audience, about inviting the readers in.
For example, readers can find out what stories the staff is working on, then offer feedback. Sometimes they offer suggestions for possible interviewees.
There’s also a shop and a plan to open a café in the newsroom. Partal says people like to watch how the staff works and get to know who writes the stories.
Membership is a key strategy. There are different levels, starting at 60 euros a year.
Partal says one year later, they have 2,000 paying customers. But it’s 11 percent of the budget.
“They are not just a reader,” Partal says, describing how people feel that as members they have rights.
He says the goal is to have 5,000 people pay, which would cover 50 percent of the budget.
So Partal knows he needs to expand his reach. Google may have been the biggest driver at one point, but that’s no longer the case. He has his eye on Facebook and Twitter.
Vicent Partal spoke at the World Editors Forum in Kiev, Ukraine. For live reporting on the event, follow the Kiev 2012 blog.
Photo courtesy of gravity_grave via Flickr Creative Commons