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Six winning digital strategies from daily La Nación

Six winning digital strategies from daily La Nación

Valentina Gimenez | December 06, 2011

How newspapers can best adapt to digital technology is a matter of much debate.

Argentine daily La Nación is getting it right. For the second year in a row, Lanación.com won the general excellence award for best non-English language site from the Online News Association.

ONA judge and Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas founder Rosental Alves said the way the site uses new tools, especially data journalism, are helping make the website a winner.

La Nación's multimedia assistant managing editor Gastón Roitberg talked to IJNet about the paper's online strategy.

Roitberg said the website staff has vastly improved the visual presentation of content. In addition, staffers at La Nación have realized that data-journalism builds "a stronger pact with the audience" and allows citizens to "open their eyes or put data that impacts everyday life into context."

Here are six strategies the site follows:

- Center everything around the user. Roitberg says that the newspaper has a long-term investment in innovating on new media platforms. That said, the website is considered a place where it's safe to experiment and not be afraid of trying new ways to create reader engagement.

- Explore new trends in journalism. La Nación created a multimedia development group, considered essential for delving into new trends, including data journalism. "There's a wealth of information... it's the crossroads where research and journalism can make a huge contribution to society," Roitberg said.

- Continuous staff training. To get anywhere with new journalism tools, you need well-trained staffers. The multimedia development group also trains journalists to implement new tools. The site now has a trained multidisciplinary group of enthusiastic professionals versed in the concept of open data.

- Start with easy tools: Roitberg highlighted the use of two tools that "any journalist, programmer or interactive designer can use," Tableau and ManyEyes.

- Use data journalism for all kinds of news stories: "Any relevant fact that you can organize from a set of data can be shown with data journalism," Roitberg notes. Examples include public administration budgets, sports stats, environmental issues and all kinds of economic and finance news.

- Converge newsrooms: ‘At La Nación, there's significant cooperation between the print verison and the website, to the point that many newspaper journalists are also involved in the online edition, Roitberg said. He sees converging newsrooms as essential and must be present in each team. "It's a question of attitude and adapting to the times we live in," he said.

This article originally appeared in IJNet's Spanish edition.

@vale_gimenez