The pandemic revealed the importance for quality local reporting, as communities turned to trusted sources amid a rise of online misinformation. It also shone a light on the revenue potential of local newspapers as people looked for coverage of global events closer to home.
With the support of Google News Initiative, Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera — part of RCS Mediagroup — looked to drive more revenue by training journalists, unifying the brand experience, and improving the user experience of its nine local editions.
The publisher turned its focus onto local news to tap into the critical role it plays in reporting facts and empowering citizens. To do that, it needed to reshape local editorial plans to incorporate digital. “Many local newspapers haven’t developed the digital skills needed to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital ecosystem,” explains Fabio Napoli, Head of Business at Corriere della Sera. “They need support in the development of their digital offering.”
Corriere della Sera started at the source — the newsroom — building out a comprehensive training plan to equip local journalists with skills like data analysis, trending topics, and social strategy.
The teams introduced news selection streams that give local editorial staff autonomy in analyzing trending topics and choosing which news to follow. The national team also suggested new formats to help get the information out to a wider audience than just print.
With social platforms becoming a key source for news consumption, Corriere della Sera built out its local social media presence and boosted stories to reach more readers. Training was also provided to local staff in two phases. First, regular classes offered initial training including best practices, posting, and data analysis. Then, national teams scheduled sessions with individual journalists to reinforce skills and competencies one-on-one.
Corriere della Sera needed to make its local websites more consistent with the national news to provide a better user experience. Before undergoing this initiative, local content was a standalone, and users were restricted to browsing only one edition at a time. Thanks to an extensive front-end redesign of the website — including site navigation and suggested content areas — local editions are now integrated into the national website, with many common features across both local and national news, allowing users to seamlessly jump between them.