Winners of Wan-Ifra Digital Media Awards Europe 2024

Projects and products showcasing creativity, inspiration and service

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The winners were announced at WAN-IFRA's Digital Media Europe Conference in Vienna.

Wan-Ifra Digital Media Awards has named European news publishers whose projects and products showcase creativity, inspiration and service to their readers, for the Digital Media Awards Europe 2024. This is the 17th year of the awards.

Each of this year’s winning initiatives displays outstanding innovation, from AI-use cases that increase value for audiences and better efficiencies for staff, to community focused data projects that represent local journalism at its best.

The winners of each category will now be automatically entered into the 2024 Digital Media World Awards, where they will compete with the top projects from other regions around the globe.

WINNERS

Best Data Visualization

Project: Community mapping – Tracking the health of our high streets

Company: The Courier and Press and Journal, United Kingdom

While trying to understand the impact of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and inflation on a local level, the staff at The Courier and Press and Journal noticed a big gap in data illustrating vacancy rates of retail space on Scottish high streets. So they set out to fill that gap, going on foot through the cities to complete a census and turning hand drawn maps into interactive floor plans, building a data set and tool that is valuable for both their newsroom and their audiences. Judges commented: “This project is a great example of data journalism for local newspapers. Data visualization formats are varied and well done. DC Thomson staff was able to offer the same approach in several cities, and managed to combine this data with human stories. It’s proof that newsrooms can produce structured data, turn it into engaging visualizations as well as transform it into empathic stories.”

Best in Audience Engagement (it’s a tie!)

Project: Kuglolov

Company: NOVA TV d.d., Croatia

Using creativity and a true understanding of how different age groups interacted with different platforms, the team at NOVA TV was able to create an interactive holiday campaign that engaged audiences and helped them to affirm their status as the most viewed channel in December 2023. The campaign also supported their goal of boosting viewership of 18-24 year olds, which increased by 9.5% compared to the previous few months, and smashing their goal of increased +15% app downloads, instead hitting a +1,228% growth. Judges said: “Love to see a contest example as a way to drive engagement. And a lighthearted one at that! The app integration makes for a great user experience, and the results were impressive. Wonderfully executed and a very original idea.”

Project: Revitalizing the WELT community

Company: WELT N24 GmbH, Germany

Wanting to stabilize subscriber engagement and improve retention, the team at WELT worked to improve the user experience of their Community online forum through greater transparency, better moderation quality and creating a more valuable discussion atmosphere. Their work included using AI-based comment moderation, increased collaboration with the editorial team, better access within the app, and a new, regular “video live chat” format with journalists answering readers’ questions. These efforts resulted in a growth in engagement between readers and the editorial team, about 13,500 page views for each “video live chat”, a successful “comment window” feature that increased page views, comments read and comments written, and a rise in customers citing the Community as USP. Judges remarked: “Commenting is a feature that many news companies implement, but few do well. However, as made clear in the WELT data, it is a feature that is important to many audiences. WELT took a systematic, data-driven approach to improving comments for audiences and clearly documented their increased engagement due to the changes.”

Best News Website

Project: ALT – a Norwegian one stop shop for personalized news content

Company: Amedia, Norway

How to give audiences access to more than 1,000 articles a day from over 100 newspapers without overwhelming them. That was the puzzle ALT was created to solve. Setting out to build a more personal, empowering way to engage with the news, the team worked toward a product that had personalization at its core, with seamless navigation and an enriched user experience with unique features. Powered by a cross functional team who used data insights and user feedback to develop agile iterations, ALT is a service that provides users with a personal and intuitive experience that creates deeper connections with the content. ALT now has more than 60,000 unique weekly users that show greater loyalty and contributes to new subscriptions and upgrades. Judges commented: “I think it’s an excellent approach. A good idea and easy to use.”

Best Use of Video

Project: TF1 INFO / TF1 + : the origins of global warming

Company: TF1, France

Global warming is a vast and complex topic, but one that is ever present in our daily lives. Ahead of the COP28 summit, the team at TF1 wanted to create a video that could be a resource for all ages and educational levels, to help people understand the fundamentals of why climate change is happening and why it is so difficult to slow. Using a highly creative combination of volumetric video, CGI and AI they were able to create a format that allowed their journalists to effectively convey their content in a way that is engaging for a wide variety of audiences. The video was published on their news site and streaming platform, and is also shown in schools and colleges, bringing viewership of the video to the millions for this important topic. Judges said: “I love the way AI was used to create a magic world that helps people understand the story. The story is clear and easy to consume.” ”Very impressive work in terms of quality and innovation.”

Best Digital Subscription / Reader Revenue Project

Project: The launch of +Allt – Bonnier News’ first bundled product

Company: Bonnier News, Sweden

+Allt is Sweden’s first bundled digital news subscription product, including national and local titles, financial news, content from lifestyle sites and sports broadcasts. Launched in February of 2023 with the goal of increasing the number of brands read by consumers and enhancing engagement and experience, +Allt has exceeded 200,000 purchases within its first year, far surpassing their original goal of 50,000. The wide array of content and unified customer journey has helped combat retention with active and engaged subscribers, as well as contributed to Bonnier News’ high digital growth rate in 2023. Judges commented: “A good example how strong brands can add increased value to a bundle-product: 1+1=3”

Best Newsletter

Project: The Chris Giles on Central Banks Newsletter

Company: The Financial Times, United Kingdom

Launched in October 2023, and with 6,000 signups before the first edition was sent out, this newsletter has clearly addressed a topic audiences are interested in, and the conversational, concise writing style keeps readers curious and engaged. Boasting an average open rate of 48% in 2023, the newsletter is sent out every Tuesday and features thoughtful commentary, charts, graphics and analysis about the central banks from former economics editor, Chris Giles. A wonderful example of combining a trusted and passionate writer, unique yet digestible insights on a complex topic, and valuable visuals to create an engaging and impactful newsletter. Judges remarked: “One might imagine that a newsletter on Central Banks would be a bit dry, but that is certainly not the case here. An excellent example of a topic-based newsletter built around a highly knowledgeable writer who is clearly an engaging storyteller. Bravo!”

Best Podcast

Project: #HerNameWas

Company: Stampen Lokala Medier, Sweden

A powerful investigative podcast that puts an important spotlight on gender-based violence. This podcast calls attention to the fact that in many of these cases, the women could have been saved if different agencies or groups had acted faster or even at all. Just as important, #HerNameWas puts the women, the victims, and their stories at its core, making them the protagonists and honoring their memories. The podcast, which has been listened to more than 500,000 times, has also helped engage a larger audience of young women, with 85% of listeners being women and a majority of readers on related articles being young women aged 25-34 years old. Judges commented: “This is a targeted and well thought-out podcasting product. It is filling an important gap.”

Best Use of AI in the Newsroom

Project: Russmedia meets AI

Company: Russmedia, Austria

An exceptional blueprint for integrating AI into workflows and operations, Russmedia’s thoughtful and strategic implementation of AI is as impactful as it is ambitious. Harnessing a culture of innovation and adaptability, they incorporated AI into their CMS and Image Search Tool, as well as paywall strategies, content optimization and user engagement tools, allowing journalists to work more effectively and efficiently and improving how they serve their audiences. Russmedia also made sure that these tools were not only available, but understood and embraced by staff through AI workshops, breakfast sessions and additional learning opportunities. With the new tools implemented and a culture of continuous learning, Russmedia has created a sustainable model for embracing the dynamic digital landscape ahead. Judges said: “This is a brilliant example of how the incorporation of AI tools into workflows can help journalists and newsrooms to become more efficient, more reader focused, and exploit their archives.”

Best Use of AI in Revenue Strategy

Project: The Platform Intelligence in News project (PIN)

Company: Ekstra Bladet, Denmark

With the goal of increasing editorial and commercial value by using AI to address reader’s pain points, as well as to put themselves in a strong position for future digitization, the Platform Intelligence in News (PIN) project was created. The team focused on three types of AI, recommender systems, natural language processing, and natural language generation. They went through a rigorous testing and evaluation process in order to most effectively implement the AI systems within Ekstra Bladet to create a richer news experience for their readers. Through their work they have seen increased subscription sales, use of paid-for news by subscribers and use of free news. With their created team of AI specialists and multitude of AI systems and use cases, the team has created a strong foundation for continuing to adapt to new technologies with creativity and innovation. Judge’s comments: “An intentional, methodical approach to integrating AI into your editorial workflow that balanced achieving efficiencies with a focus on delivering value to audiences.”

Best Fact Checking Project

Project: AFP Fact Check: how to verify information online

Company: Agence France-Presse, France

In a time when verifying what is real and what is fake can feel overwhelming, AFP has brilliantly leveraged video as an effective format for informing and showing journalists and the public how to verify content found online and identify potentially false information. These videos, created in long and short formats by the journalists, are useful well beyond their publication date and create trust through connecting the journalists straight to the viewers.  Judges said: “A powerful and creative initiative that not only informs but also brings journalists and users new ways to cross-check the news they consume and/or report about. The choice of platform (YouTube) and format (short or longer videos) is particularly relevant for the audiences. The content comes across as authentic, credible and accessible.”

Best Innovative Digital Product

Project: The Short Version

Company: VG, Norway

VG’s articles have been increasing in word count, while their young readers had been asking for shorter articles. The solution? Creating expandable summaries that give readers a more concise version of the article. Using OpenAI’s GPT models to generate summaries, which are then fact checked and edited by journalists, the Short Versions are an exemplary product, showing the impact that listening to the needs of readers can have on engagement. The Short Versions are used by 20% of VG’s audience, within younger audience demographics that number is 30%, and readers of the Short Versions show increased read time on average. Judges remarked: “Great, smart feature aligned with clearly-identified audience needs. Keeping a human in the loop is awesome too.”

Best Native Advertising Campaign

Project:The Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation

Company: Bonnier News, Sweden

This native advertising campaign showcases the power of partnership, innovation and compelling content in creating commercial campaigns that bring maximum benefits to all partners. The Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation joined forces with Bonnier News to highlight their 120th anniversary with the goal of spreading knowledge and increasing donations. Utilizing native and television features, social media, print outlets, ads, and a completely unique conversion widget which allowed readers to make donations easily and without leaving the article, the team was able to build an incredibly successful campaign with high levels of engagement and donations. Judges commented: “An inspiring, impactful and hugely successful integrated campaign. This entry is a masterclass in combining purposeful content with segmentation and audience awareness with platform appropriate technology to generate great results.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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