LONDON, December 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Gorkana was joined yesterday (1 December) by Christian Broughton, editor of The Independent and Zach Leonard, managing director, Digital at ESI Media at a packed-out media briefing event in Central London. They revealed how the digital-only title has made cultural changes, seen success across social platforms and how it is gaining traction with a global audience.
The Independent has had a landmark year with the title celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016, the national newspaper's owner, ESI Media, committed it to a digital-only future in March with increased investment in the UK and internationally.
The decision to move digital-only has led to accelerated audience growth, with 74.3 million unique users globally in August 2016 (ABC) - an increase of 18% on March 2016.
The Independent now employs more than 100 journalists across the world, and has shown that serious political and international reporting can both survive and thrive in the digital age.
Here are just a few top tips that Broughton and Leonard revealed at yesterday's briefing:
The Independent has always had influence internationally as its now discontinued print paper was available outside the UK. However, Broughton and Leonard explained that its digital transformation has allowed staff to take a more international outlook. Its story "Rio 2016: International chefs cooking surplus Olympic food for city's poorest residents" has become one of its most read articles this year.
Broughton said that when brands appear on the Indy they are reaching "the most attractive audience in the market place". This audience was described as distinguished in education and level of income by Leonard. He says these two bits of "DNA" have been engrained in the publication since its start. The audience has grown rapidly in 2016, particularly in the US and across the female population.
Pitch in the PM
Broughton explained that due to The Independent's digital changes the traditional news cycle has been turned on its head. He said: "Classically, on national papers mornings are a great time to catch somebody because they are away on afternoon deadlines. Now it's the other way round, the mornings are really tight. Actually, towards the end of the afternoon you are more likely to catch someone with a bit of time."
Two tips from Indy staff
The Independent newsroom was asked directly by Broughton to come up with tips for the Gorkana briefing. As a result, he's pledged to make it easier for PRs to ensure that they have the right contacts, which includes refreshing Indy's media contacts on Gorkana's database. In addition, Indy staffers suggested that PRs contact them when they have expertise or facilities that journalists can use, as well as "complete" story pitches.
PR and comms professionals from a variety of sectors attended the media briefing, which was chaired by Gorkana's head of news and content, Philip Smith.
Jocelyn Murdoch, Communications Assistant at Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "It was fascinating to get an insight into the Independent's transition to being a fully digital platform. Christian and Zach really placed an emphasis on heartfelt, quality journalism, showing that old world values really work in the digital age. It was also useful to get an idea of who is reading the Independent and the type of content that appeals to its global audience."
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