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Aug. 20, 2014, 2:02 p.m.
Audience & Social

How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news

“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”

In 2011, the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK set the world record for the longest single television show by broadcasting a cruise ship traversing the country’s coast. The show was on the air for 134 consecutive hours, and 3.2 million people — more than 60 percent of all Norwegians — tuned in at some point. Last year, about one million people watched NRK’s 12-hour broadcast of a burning fireplace, complete with color commentary.

But NRK P3, one of the broadcaster’s radio stations aimed at a younger audience, has taken a more ephemeral approach to broadcasting this summer, producing newscasts for Snapchat. The station has about 2,500 followers on its Snapchat account, Even Nielsen, a P3 producer told me via email.

P3nyheter want to present news to young people where they are,” he wrote. “It is a challenge for news broadcasters today to reach young people, and we think social media is a good place to introduce news stories to them.”

I added P3nyheter (P3 News in Norwegian) yesterday on Snapchat, and was sent a 90-second-plus Snapchat story that covered a wide array of news. The story led with a series of snaps on the protests in Ferguson. (“Police used tear gas and shock grenades against protesters,” one of the captions read in Norwegian.) It also covered the news of a 15-year-old soccer player being called up to the Norwegian national team, the delay in production of the sixth Resident Evil movie, and the first day of school for Norway’s 10-year-old Princess Ingrid.


P3nyheter’s Ingvild Sættem Beltesbrekke explained to the NRK blog (in Norwegian) how the P3nyheter team goes about assembling the snaps. She explained (via Google Translate) the process was time-consuming in addition to their primary radio responsibilities, as well as posting on Instagram and other social networks:

We create images in Photoshop and video in Premiere, how we use templates suitable for the iPhone 4, where we design graphics, video, images and text to each item. When an update is ready it will be uploaded to Dropbox, and publish it via the Snaproll app on your phone, which provides the ability to add items to Snapchat stories.

Snapchat is also a newsgathering opportunity for the station, as some users, for instance, sent P3nyheter pictures of helicopters battling forest fires earlier this summer, Beltesbrekke said. They now will occasionally ask listeners to submit photos via Snapchat. Snapchat recently added filters that show the current temperature over photos, so she said “we get many updates on the weather, especially during the heat wave now.”

A number of news outlets in the U.S. and abroad have also begun using Snapchat and other chat apps. NPR sends snaps with various staffers reading a fact of the day, Bloomberg Businessweek uses the platform to offer previews of its weekly issues, and Mashable will often tell stories through its Snapchat account — earlier this week, they visited the pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington and also reported on the protests in Ferguson through the platform.

And The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Snapchat is in discussions with media and advertising companies to begin a product called Snapchat Discovery that would show users editorial and advertising content and is scheduled to launch in November. The Daily Mail is one of the participating organizations, the Journal reported.

P3nyheter sends Snapchat updates between two and five times each day, Nielsen said, adding that they’ll obviously send more if breaking news necessitates it, and they also send out a number of updates via Instagram in addition to Twitter and Facebook. Still, the response has been generally positive, Nielsen said, as “it is a quick and easy way to get up to date with today’s headlines. A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”

POSTED     Aug. 20, 2014, 2:02 p.m.
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