Communities strengthen readers’ loyalty towards “their” newspaper

Ifra XMA Cross Media Awards 2007 – the winners have been decided

Darmstadt, (PresseBox) - The jury for this year’s Ifra XMA Cross Media Awards (www.ifra.com/xma) was faced with some very difficult decisions. "The winners should feel very good because they prevailed against an extremely tough field," is how Robert Cauthorn, CEO of CityTools/USA and member of the XMA jury summarises his experience.

Fifty different projects were entered by newspaper houses from 18 countries for assessment by the jury members. The focus of this year’s Ifra international media prize was on building communities and involving readers in the production of editorial contents, aspects frequently associated with the terms of "Web 2.0" or "citizen journalism".

The winners of the Ifra XMA Cross Media Awards 2007

Category A (small newspapers with a daily circulation below 100,000 copies):

1st place: Bocholter-Borkener Volksblatt (XMA project: "BBV – always and everywhere"), Bocholt, Germany.

Under the motto "local first", a team from the areas of new media, editorial and technology produces unique content for the newspaper, website, web TV, up to mobile services. Readers from the area of distribution are integrated via the local community dieQ.net.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "I feel this project is making almost all of the right moves. And beyond the overall ambitions of the effort, it's striking to see this coming from a publisher in a smaller market. The leadership of BBV is clearly thinking in new and exciting ways."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "Very local, very focused. I like the approach and how the various media do their thing, emphasizing potential of each medium."

Jochen Dieckow: "Convergence goes hyperlocal. It is great to see what a small media house with limited resources can achieve."

2nd place: SaarbrückerVerlagService („Saarland Community“), Saarbrücken, Germany.
Already 20,000 registered users avail of the Saarland Community to create their personal profiles, run dedicated blogs, incorporate videos, upload photos and communicate with each other. With aimed actions, community contents are played back to the print products.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "In particular this site's desire to be in the middle of users lives is exactly what newspapers should be doing."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "This is focused and well accomplished. Good print/online interaction."

Jochen Dieckow: "Very fresh and popular community services."

3rd place: Heraldo de Aragón ("Heraldo Abierto"), Zaragoza, Spain.

A special part of the newspaper is dedicated to citizen journalism. This open forum is highly popular; more than 1500 "citizen journalists" regularly supply contributions for the project.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "This project is a great start and I love the print implementation – the newspaper clearly has its values in the right place and is thinking in new ways."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "Heraldo Abierto offers the very section that readers/users of news media today crave for. The project is creative in its simple approach to making readers become "protagonists". Today, publishing means participating; this project does this in a grand scale."

Mariko Horikawa: "It is encouraging to see so many people involved when the overall reach of the original newspaper was not that large."

Category B (medium-sized newspapers with a daily circulation between 100,000 and 250,000 copies):

1st place: Dagbladet ("traveltips.no"), Oslo, Norway.

Shortly after it was established, the online travel community of the Norwegian publishing house already had 30,000 members. The best photos and comments of the users are published, together with the name of the contributor, in the printed newspaper. Special offers make the platform attractive for advertisers, the numbers of clicks on the banner ads are five times higher than average.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "For a long time newspapers have not understood how they can compete in travel – and this project certainly leads the way. (...) The site's creators have thought deeply about what is needed."

Sven-Olof Bodenfors: "The integrated update weather service on the destinations is a good driver and the links to advertisers like airlines, hotels and insurance as well."

Jochen Dieckow: "Good integration of other services like maps and videos. Besides the community effect, this surely also has a commercial perspective."

2nd place: La Nación ("Creating communities"), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The project shows La Nación’s strategy for creating dedicated communities that depend strongly on interaction with the readers via the channels of the media house. The strategy includes the printed newspaper La Nación, the website LaNacion.com, Igooh (a special website for citizen journalism), the La Nación foundation and the customer loyalty programme Club La Nación.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "The open-minded approach from the editing team and the willingness to all the public to interact so freely are admirable traits."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "Not only do they drive readers from print to web (that is the easy part), but they also use every available opportunity to transfer the good information/experiences of web to print. (...) Buenisimo."

3rd place: Südkurier Medienhaus ("Südkurier Debate"), Constance, Germany.

By deliberately applying a policy of division into for and against, the Südkurier succeeds in activating its readers and motivating them to exchange opinions. In guest contributions, celebrities give statements that further enliven discussions. Internet contributions are included in the printed medium.

Comments of the jury:

Volker Schütz: "There are countless communities in the Internet in which thousands of topics are discussed. Discussions are conducted not only online, but additionally in a prominent position in the newspaper: on page 1! It is not possible to generate greater attention for an online community."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "Particularly good use of graphic charts, statistics, and visually well coordinated fusion between print and online. Bravo, Südkurier!"

Jochen Dieckow: "Good integration of expert views and reader opinions."

Category C (large-sized newspapers with a daily circulation more than 250,000 copies):

1st place: Agora/Gazeta Wyborcza ("Campaign: Save Rospuda"), Warsaw, Poland.

Gazeta Wyborcza launched a nationwide multimedia campaign to save the Rospuda valley, a unique nature reserve through which the government wanted to run a motorway. The combined use of the printed newspaper, weblogs, podcasts, the mobilisation of readers and organised protest marches finally compelled the government to stop construction of the motorway.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "Agora deserves great credit for returning the passion to the newspaper and for reaching out to the community at large. The connections made during this campaign will, I'm sure, be long lasting."

Jochen Dieckow: "A very prestigious project with high impact. Extra point for integrating a lot of different platforms and channels."

2nd place: PrisaCom/El País ("Talente"), Madrid, Spain.

EP3.es is a multimedia magazine for young people that is incorporated into elpais.com. The platform presents young artists (graphic artists, photographers, musicians, etc.) and, besides its own online area, consists also of a printed special supplement to the newspaper. Audio and video contents play an important role in the web presentation.

Comments of the jury:

Dr. Mario Garcia: "This is an absolutely perfect project: visually appealing and well focused for its young audience; content that has tremendous appeal (the concept of discovering talent and exposing it to others), and combining print/online/digital.”
Jochen Dieckow: “This is a great concept to support people's creativity.”

3rd place: Telegraph Media Group (“My Telegraph”),
London, United Kingdom.

This project combines personalised news services and blogs. Readers can compile their own blog and incorporate contents relating to selected topics via RSS feeds. They contribute actively to the contents on the platform my.telegraph.co.uk and interact with other registered users.

Comments of the jury:

Robert Cauthorn: "Simply stated, this is the best deployment of blogging yet seen in a newspaper anywhere in the world. Wow. Oh wow."

Dr. Mario Garcia: "Impressive progression from print to web; great way to involve readers of the "everyone's a journalist" generation."

Jochen Dieckow: "Integrative, communicative and emotional."

Mariko Horikawa: "The Telegraph project is a good example of how print and digital can co-exist and even more, support each other."

The winners will receive their prizes at IfraExpo 2007 in Vienna. The prize-winners and sponsors of the Ifra XMA 2007 competition will be presented at a special show in a 160 m² area. The Ifra Cross Media Awards 2007 are sponsored by Atex and Protec and supported by EidosMedia, Escenic, Josh, nStein and Polopoly. Media partners are Ifra newspaper techniques and Horizont.

All entered projects (including the winners) can be viewed on the Ifra website under www.ifra.com/xma. The Ifra XMA Cross Media Awards competition will be organised again in 2008. The focus then will be on "Cross-media Advertising" in newspapers and their digital editions.

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