Financieele Dagblad has a strong position as one of the Netherlands’ leading business papers, but like many media companies it was too dependent on ad revenue for the print edition. That’s why they made a strong push to increase online subscriptions in connection with a relaunch of the newspaper’s website in 2014. The website quickly became a big success, but the editorial staff still felt that the process for publishing articles online was too complicated and slow. It was also difficult to make both writers and editors drop their focus on the print edition, which traditionally had been viewed as much more important. So in 2016 they began looking for a tool that could make web publishing faster and easier.
”We were looking for a type of ’Holy Grail’ since we needed a system that could be used with our own internal back-end system, and that was difficult to find. At the same time, we wanted to keep our flexibility when it comes to how we present news on in the internet. We felt that we only had one chance to get it right, since many employees were reluctant to learn yet another new system that would change their daily routines,” says Philippe Bressers, project leader at Financieele Dagblad.
The decision was to go with Infomaker’s digital Writer, a writing tool that could be connected to FD’s own infrastructure as well as Newspilot, which the newspaper was already using. That provided a tool that could be used for both online and print, and gave the writers more control over how their articles were presented on the website.
“It’s very important that print and online don’t become two separate worlds. If they’re not working together it leads to duplicate work and becomes difficult to handle,” says Karin Söderlund, CEO, Infomaker.
FD has also taken advantage of the possibility to create its own plug-in programs by creating a search engine for photos that can be added directly to the articles, and a tool for pulling up current stock prices for companies. And the intuitive interface meant that the entire instruction manual could fit on just two pages.
”The feedback we received was that it was super easy to use, and that’s great to hear. Our end goal was to make sure that every user could create their own content and publish it online without needing any technical skills. Our editor in chief, Jan Bonjer, said he has overseen the introduction of six new systems but has never seen such a smooth transition from one system to another. People could hardly believe it,” says Philippe Bressers.
FD began using its digital Writer during spring 2017 and has already seen a big difference in the staff’s attitude toward web publishing.
”Before we had 80 people focused on the print newspaper and two who worked with online. Now we have 80 people focused on online, and at the end of the day they shift their focus to see which material should be used for the print edition. The hardest part of the project was not the technological change but the human change, to make people care about the website and not just think about how their article will look on the front page, says Philippe Bressers.
Now they’re also looking at how the program can be used by the company’s other affiliates, including several smaller niche websites and a radio station. At the radio station, they have already developed a plug-in for linking audio clips, which can also be used for FD’s articles for an improved multimedia experience.
”It’s a natural way of creating synergies. We can conclude that we now have the tools we need to create the content we want to sell to our users. We can no longer use the excuse that we don’t have the right tools to do the job, says Philippe Bressers.
About Financieele Dagblad
Financieele Dagblad is a Dutch daily newspaper focusing on the business world and financial news. The FD is one of the oldest newspapers in the Netherlands with roots dating back to 1796.
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