Ippen Media is a leading digital publisher in Germany with a network of media companies across the country that includes more than 80 regional newsrooms and half a dozen newsrooms of Ippen Digital. The team wanted to share their journalistic material in a central platform so that their content could be published multiple times across different titles.
“Our editorial team members write and edit several thousand articles every day. Much of our journalistic content is too relevant and valuable to be published only once. That's why we wanted to share them in our network: in a central exchange,” said Christoph Zöllner, Head of Product at Ippen Media.
Ippen identifies the need for a central hub to share journalistic content
Their aim was to enhance collaboration among their diverse publishing houses and establish a central hub for sharing relevant ideas, spanning from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south to Fehmarn in the north. This encompassed various topics that impacted nationwide news, and departments, including politics and sports, as well as local issues that could be exchanged between publishers.
Additionally, they sought to foster a seamless exchange between their editorial teams for the different publications (print) and the central editorial teams (digital).
Outdated Ippen-Net platform and the search for an effective solution
Their colleagues in Hamm had set up a platform within the team for exchanging content, named Ippen-Net, however, they found that Ippen-Net was outdated. Telephone conferences between the individual departments and numerous emails were a part of their daily routine.
Desk-Net had already been implemented in their publishing houses in Frankfurt and at the Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung, and they could see that it was effective. To achieve their goals of exchanging stories in a seamless and transparent way across all the titles, they created an exchange platform using Desk-Net.
Creation and launch of an exchange platform using Desk-Net
In January 2022, the exchange platform was launched. It has now broadened to all teams and encompasses categories such as politics, business, sports, and different regions of their circulation areas.
The exchange platform was created with the ability to create different filtered views that could be displayed so that everyone across the organization can see the content that is relevant to them. “It is a common occurrence for articles from one newspaper to be published in other newspapers across Germany,” said Zöllner.
“For example, articles from the Münchner Merkur may appear in the Frankfurter Neue Presse, the HNA in Kassel, or the Westfälischer Anzeiger in Hamm, or vice versa. By filtering the platforms and categories using different views, individuals can view the relevant content offerings in Desk-Net.”
Desk-Net not only streamlines the process of making content accessible to all, but it also facilitates the planning of colleagues' rosters and enables publishers to track the progress of their specific content. Furthermore, it assists in resolving any issues related to licensing or royalties, which is a common occurrence in the network.
Zöllner emphasized that content is only provided when payment is settled, and this is clearly indicated. “Resolving rights and licensing or royalty issues is an everyday occurrence in our group-wide network. We only offer content where the fee issue is clearly resolved. If a fee is due for a piece, this is marked accordingly,” said Zöllner.
“We train our colleagues so that they can make the best possible use of what is on offer. For this purpose, there is a common e-learning platform that supports the editorial team members in their work with Desk-Net,” said Zöllner. “Ultimately, Desk-Net only works well with a certain degree of discipline. The editorial teams also ensure, among themselves, that everyone adheres to the guidelines, because that way, everyone benefits.”
The benefits of the exchange platform for Ippen Media
Zöllner provided an example of how the exchange platform operates, using an instance where the editorial team of Münchner Merkur interviewed Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor. “Via the exchange platform, the colleagues announced the focus and the length, and they indicated in Desk-Net when the print-ready version would be available,” explained Zöllner.
“The colleagues at the other publications in our group could then decide whether they wanted to use the interview for their newspapers, and the central editorial offices of Ippen Digital could plan the editing and publication."
The brand's print editorial offices now share anywhere from 60 to 80 articles on a daily basis through the exchange platform, and this number has increased since the central digital editorial offices were linked.
Zöllner notes that Desk-Net is helpful in preventing redundant work by multiple editorial team members on the same topic. “We have noticed that the exchange platform saves many phone calls and e-mails. That already adds up in everyday editorial work,” added Zöllner.
Zöllner revealed that there were some skeptical voices at the beginning, “With every project, there are also critical or skeptical voices at the beginning - which are valuable. At first, some members of the editorial team couldn't imagine that an exchange platform for so many different pieces of content could work,” said Zöllner.
Eventually, the critics became convinced of the benefits of the exchange platform. One significant advantage was that content providers could monitor which publisher took over their contribution.
The future of the exchange platform for Ippen Media
In the future, Ippen Media hopes to use the exchange platform as a means for their newsrooms to generate ideas. “Topics that work in one local newsroom, for example for an editorial of the Offenbach-Post, could also serve as an inspiration for other local newsrooms, for example at the Allgemeine Zeitung in Uelzen or the Kreiszeitung in Syke,” said Zöllner.
“So, this project is not about copying content. Rather, we want to offer colleagues ideas for implementing topics in their region as well - with their respective local contacts.”
Ideally, every Ippen Desk-Net user should be able to utilize the exchange platform, while saved views can help individual teams to manage the offer efficiently. This approach emphasizes a professional and strategic approach to change management in the newsroom and user engagement.
Zöllner advises that to ensure a successful launch, it is wise to gather user feedback and start with a small-scale release, as a minimum viable product. The aim should be to expand the offering gradually.
Desk-Net has proven to be a valuable tool for Ippen Media in its effort to create a central hub for sharing relevant ideas across their publishing houses. The exchange platform created with Desk-Net has enabled seamless collaboration among diverse teams and has facilitated the planning and tracking of content.
Although some initial skepticism was present, the benefits of the exchange platform have convinced even the skeptics. As Ippen Media expands and plans to use the exchange platform as a means for generating and sharing ideas in their newsrooms, Desk-Net will continue to be an essential tool for their success.
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