The News from Germany

Nieman Lab have been talking about German daily newspaper Die Welt as it restructures its newsroom to merge with the twenty four hour TV news channel acquired by parent company Axel Springer in 2013.

Ken Doctor at Nieman Lab thinks this could be the a test of the idea of convergence as he starts to look forward to ‘questions we’ll be talking about into 2016’;

You remember convergence. It seemed crystal clear: The route forward demanded both traditional local print and broadcast skills combined in what we can multimedia, multiplatform publishing. (I guess we’re there. But we don’t hear those words much anymore.) But then all the American newspaper/broadcast companies, one by one — Belo, Scripps, Media General, Tribune, Gannett — swore off the notion of convergence, and split their newspapers from their TV properties. Once-promising convergence experiments, from Tampa to Phoenix, fell by the wayside. Now, ever-energetic Axel Springer is testing a major convergence of its own: WeltN24.

Shan Wang, of Nieman Lab has been talking to Jan-Eric Peters, editor in chief at Die Welt, about how they are striving to integrate TV and digital and the advantages and problems that doing so brings. The aim is to have teams of people who work within a single subject section to produce stories that are made once for multiple channels and outputs, however the infrastructure needed to achieve this is still in development.

At the moment, most of N24’s production staff can’t physically relocate into the Axel Springer headquarters because they need the broadcast infrastructure at the TV station. Construction on a new Axel Springer building will start in a few weeks and should house both the TV and the rest of the Die Welt staff by 2018. For now, a few “ambassadors” represent the TV teams at Die Welt’s daily meetings. “With big stories like the G7 summit or the refugee crisis, we have to have morning meetings with teams consisting of at least a writer, a TV reporter, maybe a video person who can help us Periscope, and so on,” Peters said. “It does become much more complex with TV.”

In a separate article Wang also looks at some emerging German news sites which aim to reach out to ‘young audiences’. Wang thinks the framework within which this is happening is different to the saturation of the U.S market with startups like ‘Vice, BuzzFeed, Fusion, Vox, Mic’. In Germany, the news apps aimed at millennials are more likely to be born out of the traditional legacy publishers as they strive to attract and keep a younger audience within an aging population.

“There’s a whole lot of movement in the German media landscape — this is an incredible time,” Sebastian Horn told me. Horn heads, a project from Zeit Online that first debuted in beta in July. He runs the site from a separate small office space in Berlin, tucked away behind a kitesurfing shop.