In anticipation of the biggest digital conference in the region, Digital Takeover, we talked with Goran Gavranović, chief editor of 24sata news portal

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

On March 13, 2018, the next edition of the biggest digital conference, Digital Takeover will take place in CineStar hall in Zagreb Branimir Centar. This year’s conference should prove its important role as source of relevant information on digital development in the region and worldwide. It also brings useful ideas and solutions to Croatian market which is about to experience a digital explosion in the next few years.

First confirmed speakers at this year’s conference are Peter Corbett, winner of 20 Cannes Lions and founder of digital agency iStrategyLabs and Daniel Newman, author of many bestselling books at Amazon and Forbes associate.

Few weeks before the biggest regional digital conference we spoke to Goran Gavranović, chief editor of 24sata news portal – the Digital Takeover organiser.

What digitalization brings to media publishers?

Goran Gavranović: It is really hard to say what digitalization brings to media publishers as things from our perspective look much different than from some other media publishers. We were very innovative from our beginnings. We wanted to be different, we wanted to experiment but we did not compromise when journalism rules and principles were in question.

This is the spirit of all 24sata journalists. Digitalisation is natural to us. It’s an adventure, just like every story, every news, every new form that we try. We always make sure to make the best of it. In respect to other publishers it’s hard to say what digitalisation brings to them. I think this it’s a chance to change things that are not working. The things that were maybe slowing down journalists’ growth and development of a medium. We can be certain sooner or later all ‘old fashioned’ media houses fall under burden of bureaucratic rules and principles which can slow down the evolution. Publishers should see digitalisation as an opportunity not threat. But unfortunately many still don’t.

How did you at 24sata managed to adapt to a new age digital consumer?

Goran Gavranović: Our main principle at 24sata is to answer user’s needs. Not to make compromises with quality journalism. Our audience has always been in the centre of our work. We adapt to the platform they are using. This does not mean we fulfill their wishes but we are presenting contents in a form they prefer. In majority this is still ‘hard news’ contents. Some they don’t really want to hear but still – they want to know. The audience recognizes consistency, honesty and respects it.

How important is to follow new trends and do they challenge professional journalism?

Goran Gavranović: Basic journalism principles remained the same. They are not changing. You need to answer the 5 W-s, each involving party has to have a chance to tell their side of the story and every information needs to be verified at least two or more independent sources.

The whole journalism is based on these three simple rules. Forms, platforms and way of expression will keep changing. I think there is no fear for journalism. It can only be better. And as I already said audience always recognises and rewards consistency and honesty.

How to successfully manage online and offline medium? 

Goran Gavranović: It is very simple. You need to present the content in a platform adapted way. The content is the same, the presentation changes. To give you an example – for online speed is the most important and the possibility of endless space and endless integration. There is also the immediate feedback from the audience. For print the most important is the selection of the most relevant and the most important parts of a story. Then comes design, storytelling, the right mix of titles, photography and text. The reader must be able to comprehend the whole information in just one look, make a viewpoint, feel an emotion and enjoy it.

How did you integrated online and printed edition and what role did your journalist and other employees played at this integration?

Goran Gavranović: We never really needed to integrate print and online. At 24sata there is one simple rule – everybody (journalists, editors, designers, cameramen, photoreporters,…) work for 24sata not just for printed, online edition or video contents. Of course there are some people that are more specialised in certain fields. But majority of our employees work for all our platforms. Without their enthusiasm, creativity, hard work, absolute professionalism and innovative spirit none of this would ever be possible.

Facebook announced change of their algorithm which will most probably affect media publisher. These changes will prioritise users contents over business contents. Live video and local news are suppose to be given priority as well. How do you see this change from a media perspective? 24sata has more than 1.2 million fans on Facebook which is far more than any of your competitors. Will this changes influence connection between media and its users?

Goran Gavranović: We are already used to the fact that Facebook is constantly changing their algorithms. My opinion is this changes will cause more damage to them (Facebook) than to media. We are going to adapt like we always did and try to get the best out of every situation. We will always make sure we offer our audience true, original and entertaining information in real time. As far as the video and local news are concerned I think we are one of the best in the world. We have an amazing video production since the very beginnings. Intuitively we have followed all the world trends and despite our low budgets we can compare our video production to world’s biggest media giants.

Facebook is not the one that will allow or not allow us to better communicate with our audience. It can only make things easier or harder for us. Content we create is always the most important in this relationship and the way we present it. Not Facebook, we are content creators and as long as the content is good we have nothing to be afraid of.

At Digiday Awards Europe awards ceremony in London you won a reward for best European media house in category of Best Live video for a video you streamed live on Facebook.

Goran Gavranović: To be honest I was a bit shocked that we won this award for 2017 and not for 2016. In that year we were among the first three in probably all European media contests. I think it’s a discrimination of media from small European countries like Croatia. It makes me laugh when I hear my colleagues from big European countries speak at some of these media conferences how they managed to pull together a great online video for just 10, 20 or 30 millions of dollars. We do videos with almost no investment at all. But ok, we finally got this award. We are quite used to awards as we have won them in all major categories – print, website, video, newspaper supplements, campaigns,…

How did 24sata journalists adapt to digitalisation and video as one of the most popular format of media content? 

Goran Gavranović: We do things differently to big European media houses. We simplify. When you don’t have much money to spend you have to be creative. We had a small enthusiastic video team which we joined with an experienced people from print and started a news video. All this was done naturally; we had fun and positive competitiveness. This changed the whole editorial team into an experienced video production team. And audience was there. We were very careful to remain true to ourselves. We followed our own rules, followed our brand rules. When we had to be serious we were serious, when we were allowed to be amusing we made jokes. We were not trying to be a television channel. We were natural, spontaneous and what’s most important we were offering the best story in real time. Audience recognised and awarded this with their attention and loyalty.  Our best journalists accepted video as a natural mean of communication and they have started to produce some amazing content. Nobody said “I can’t” they only wanted to be a bit better than their colleague yesterday.

What plans do you have for the future of video contents?

Goran Gavranović: We will continue to develop video in some niche channels. We are going to try new formats – serious and important as well as the entertaining ones. We are also going to produce longer videos for YouTube and post short versions on Facebook. Series “Nestali” (Lost, translation) proved we can produce longer videos dedicated to one subject of research. We will continue to produce similar projects.

Digital Takeover helps us understand world of innovations

Book your ticket now and save a spot at this year’s Digital Takover conference. World renowned speakers and regional media experts will talk about the world of constant innovation. First confirmed speakers are Peter Corbett, winner of 20 Cannes Lions and founder of digital agency iStrategyLabs and Daniel Newman, author of many bestselling books at Amazon and Forbes associate.