In collaboration with the Norwegian newspaper VG, I have made a new publishing tool for journalists. VG needs to change the way they present their content. To do this, and to meet the end user needs and to cater for a more effective production of content, VG needs a way to structure their data. To enable a less confusing presentation for the reader, a more efficiently way of finding and using content for the journalist and to get an overview of all the content produced at VG, the journalists need a new working tool.
The goal with the new working tool is to give the journalist an overview of what have been presented to the reader before, and a chance to deliberately choose content to reuse. The prototype focus on the way the journalists work and how they can be more creative and efficient when creating content. It also creates a need for a more open process and more collaboration between the journalists.
My focus area through this process have been the journalists at VG. I have done observations and interviews with journalists in different departments, content mapping and a workshop experimenting with one-to-one storytelling.
In the content mapping I found that 50 percent of the text in 87 articles written about the Volkswagen-scandal was repetition. The reason for this repetition is first of all that the journalists are writing their articles for everyone, also people that haven't read anything about the Volkswagen-scandal. But also because they don't see how the content looks like for the reader and what they have been presented before. Writing 87 articles are a time consuming job and many hours have been spent on copying content instead of producing new content. The publishing tool used today is inefficient and gives little overview of the articles published in one case.
This tool makes a shift in how the journalists work today, by forcing tagging, a more open process and the need of collaboration. Hopefully the journalists will see the value of having all content gathered in one place and wishes to contribute.
Article mapping 87 articles written about the Volkswagen-scandal.
All the text in the 87 articles Red lines represent repeated text
Prototype: search To be able to write an article, the journalists have to search or create a new tag to start writing
Prototype: storyline By clicking one tag you will see a preview of the storyline within this tag
Prototype: Overview When you enter one tag, all the elements in this tag is displayed in an overview page
Prototype: Communication You can also see who is working with this tag right now, and how many drafts and published articles they have
Prototype: Writing To write an article, you drag the writing area into the screen. All the elements in the tag appear as drop down menus
Prototype: Elements The journalist can save parts of the text as elements others can use in their articles later. Here one part of the text is saved as a quote and appear in the quote menu.
The problem at VG today is that it is hard to get an overview of all content produced. To solve this problem, I have made an overview page with all the produced content in one topic. On the overview page you get a storyline with all the articles and elements that are presented to the reader. By mouseover, you see when it is published and by whom. Next you have all the elements connected to the topic and that can be used in an article.
When the journalist start writing, the overview page appears as a short version with the storyline and elements hidden in drop down menus. The journalist will have access to all the content, but can choose when to use it. By highlighting part of the text, you will get choices to change font size, type or save it as a quote. If you save the highlight as a quote, the text will become red and get tagged as a quote. The new quote will then appear in the top of the quote element list so others can use it in their articles later.
Another problem is that the existing publishing tool is too hard to use. To find elements to include in the article, you have to search in a ineffective tag system, where content is often tagged wrong or not tagged at all. To include existing elements in the new publishing tool, you drop down the menu, choose a picture and drag it into your article. These elements will be marked as read for readers who have already seen them.
Another problem area defined through the journalist research was that communication is a problem at VG. I want to enable better collaboration and communication between the journalists. Drafts are marked in the overview so you quickly can see what is drafts and what is published content. In the top right corner you see all the colleauges that are working with this case right now. If you want you can also filter the elements after colleagues by clicking their picture. If you mouseover their picture you can see how many drafts and published articles they have.
I tested my prototype on five journalists at VG. They were all positive and said they wanted to use this tool even though it is a big shift from how they are working today.
This is a 4 month project in collaboration with VG at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The project won 1st prize in the "Prize for Interaction Design" and the 1st prize in the "Prize for complexity and holistic approach" at AHO works 2016.
This project sees how the bits of information within an article can be enhanced to provide utility and support for future work.
Provides a thoughtful hypothesis about how that functionality might be integrated into a reporter’s workflow.