An interview with Goran Gavranić, editor-in-chief of 24sata. By Rahela Štambuk
Considering your many years of experience in print, and now in web publishing as well, what is your opinion on digitalization? What is the secret to successfully maintaining print and web editions, what are the challenges involved?
Journalistically speaking, much bigger changes than the digitalization have taken place throughout history – namely radio, television, free newspapers… Nevertheless, the work of a journalist has remained the same in its essence. Media forms needed to adjust, but the essence of media still are the content and the journalists who create content. The best journalists and the best media will be those who will have the best, most accurate and most interesting content. What changes is the speed, and to a lesser extent the forms and methods of processing a story, and finally a platform on which it is being published, but journalistic work remains the same – journalistic skills are timeless.
If we approach the change from print to digital organization in the way that I mentioned earlier, there is actually no significant change. Our oldest and best journalist is participating on all platforms equally. After all, the definition of the word journalist suggests that one needs to deal with something new.
From the very beginning, 24sata has not put much emphasis on the choice of platform for publishing a text, and now the focus has been directed to another platform and people needed to acquire new skills.
24sata has recently made it to the finals for the prestigious international organization Digiday’s award for the best use of the Facebook Live in the media, together with, among others, NBC and Bleacher Report. The 24sata live on Facebook has an average of 500,000 viewers daily, and sometimes the number raises up to two million viewers. That is a fantastic success that has been achieved in only one year since Facebook Live became available, isn’t it?
I started as a newspaper reporter, often reporting from the field and knowing that tomorrow I will not be able to describe all the interesting details and atmosphere on paper. And now you can send the unprocessed information in real time, which is exactly what people want to see. As journalists we often have the chance to visit various interesting places and meet interesting people. The audience does not have that opportunity, but is interested in it. Video and live reporting allows the audience to get the direct insight into the situation. An interesting thing that would perhaps be covered only in a tiny article in the newspaper in this way obtains big number of views if recorded or reported live. People love to discuss and comment on those things.
As journalists, we reacted promptly and took advantage of this new option. 24sata is one of the global leaders in the Facebook live reporting. We started to use that feature earlier and better than some major global media houses.
If we take into consideration the population size and the number of people watching our videos and reports from the field, we are, on average, better than some of the world’s leading media like the New York Times, the Washington Post etc.
The journalists who have been dominant in print and the team who has adopted new skills have all just become dominant on the new platform. Being nominated and making it into the finals represents a great thing and grand success since it has placed us next to much larger and wealthier media.
We have also made it into two finals of the INMA (the International News Media Association) with our campaign Better Education for Better Croatia that we have supported on all three platforms (print, web and Facebook live) and Joomboos, which is a special medium for the younger audience. Today everybody is trying to reach younger audience, and we have succeeded in that. Although Joomboos is an individual media product and independent of 24sata, the latter provides significant media support.
The new digital era has encouraged a positive competition of ideas among the editorial staff and I believe that we have managed to reach the audience that the newspapers or websites would not be able to reach. The key thing, though, is that all platforms should support each other and share each other’s content, which is precisely what 24sata is doing.
Native advertising is a worldwide trend and everyone predicts even greater growth in 2017. In what way has 24sata adapted to the new trends in advertising?
Native advertising is not so much about an advertisement, but rather the content which deals with a particular topic explaining a particular need that advertisers want to highlight, which is done in a journalistic way and a way that is familiar and interesting to the audience. In that sense, there is a certain link between the content producers and marketing as such. If we take a look at the automotive industry and various magazines dealing with that subject, then we can say that native advertising has been present for decades. The audience wants to know what the new Mercedes looks like. Is that an advertisement? If you observe it in the context of various gadgets, cosmetic products etc., then the journalists should make it more comprehensible to the audience.
24sata has recognized the importance of native advertising, and we have created a special 24sata content studio where the editors work together with experts in the field of branding and content. We have three main rules – quality; think like a reader; and ask yourself if you would read it.
Journalists help tailoring the content to the needs of the audience in order for the audience to understand it and thus support a product, brand or service. But it will still be considered as an advertisement to a lesser degree, and mainly as an interesting content because it is often the case that advertising or regular PR cannot provide the right information about the product.
Many experts and leaders from the digital industry will be participating at the Digital Takeover conference organized by 24sata. Was the idea to encourage digitalization and the discussion on digitalization in Croatia?
As the most innovative medium in Croatia, winner of numerous international awards and leader when it comes to following global trends, 24sata has decided to boost digitalization in Croatia through various events, including the Digital Takeover conference. This is a worldwide trend that will come to us, one way or another. Being the most powerful digital media brand in Croatia, it is only logical that 24sata encourages, promotes and participates in these global trends.