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KURIER Newspaper Launches Coronavirus Information Hub With Social Wall

“The Idea Was to Have Not Just One-Way Communication but to Open up a Dialogue Through the Social Wall.”

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kurier.at social media feed on a laptop screen

Austrian daily newspaper KURIER has set up a landing page dedicated to all things COVID-19. The paper’s #BeatTheVirus hub collates all kinds of information relevant to the outbreak in Austria, from stats and news updates to in-depth reporting, as well as social media posts on an embedded social wall.

Screenshot of the Kurier #BeatTheVirus landing page. It looks very much like a standard online newspaper layout, made up of tiles of content. Some of the tiles contain facts and numbers about the pandemic, others link to relevant articles or even recipes. Under the heading “#BeatTheVirus on Social Media”, the social wall is embedded.

While the rest of the page is filled with original content created by the KURIER journalists and designers, the social wall aggregates content from the KURIER’s and other people’s social media profiles as well.

The wall’s sources are KURIER’s Instagram and Facebook profiles, filtered for coronavirus-related keywords, as well as public posts from Instagram for the hashtag #BeatTheVirus (also filtered further for keywords specific to the KURIER campaign).

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Fast reaction to a worldwide crisis

KURIER set up the #BeatTheVirus landing page and embedded social wall within days of lockdown starting in Austria in mid-March. We talked to Claudia Privasnik, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at KURIER, to find out more about the project and how they managed to set it up so quickly.  

Claudia Privasnik

Claudia Privasnik

Senior Digital Marketing Manager at KURIER

What is your goal with the #BeatTheVirus landing page, and how is the social wall helping you achieve it?

In the greatest crisis since 1945, media companies have a high social responsibility. Our  #BeatTheVirus landing page bundles everything you need to know about the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our journalists are reporting 24/7 for our online users, providing live tickers, expert interviews, daily podcasts, and asking important questions about how to flatten the curve.

Our main goal is to inform on a daily basis about the current development of the COVID-19 infections in Austria and worldwide, based on factual data — it’s our contribution to flattening the curve.

The social wall helps us connect with our community — to learn how they spend their time during the lockdown. The idea was to have not just one-way communication but to open up a dialogue through the social wall.  

Can you tell us a bit about which social networks you included as sources and why?

Our sources are Facebook and Instagram — these are the two leading platforms of our community and the two platforms we use.

Screenshot of the Kurier #BeatTheVirus social wall showing Facebook and Instagram content posted by the Kurier as well as post by users from those platforms.
The KURIER #BeatTheVirus social wall shows Instagram and Facebook content posted by KURIER and other users.

How are you promoting the landing page, social wall and hashtag?

In the first phase of our #BeatTheVirus campaign, we asked people how they were spending their time at home. We also promoted our ePaper as a free download and our 24/7 COVID-19 reporting on kurier.at/beatthevirus.

The landing page was promoted in a display campaign on the KURIER website and in a social media campaign in March. Our journalists and our social media team use the hashtag #BeatTheVirus in all their COVID-19-related articles and social media posts on Instagram and Facebook. 

How did you get everything set up so fast? The social wall integration on your landing page looks incredibly smooth, and you didn’t have much time to get it all done.

First, there was the idea to accompany our COVID-19 reporting with an online campaign, so our newsroom team had already set up the landing page. Then, it was quite easy to integrate the social wall on our landing page via iframe. 

There’s a lot of misinformation around the coronavirus. Are you moderating posts on the social wall to keep this to a minimum?

Yes, it’s absolutely necessary. We have a (social) responsibility as a serious media company to prevent misinformation, so we’re moderating the public content that is displayed via the #BeatTheVirus hashtag.

How has the response to the landing page and social wall been so far?

The landing page performs really well as you can find all relevant COVID-19 info on it 24/7. The first phase of the campaign is over. We are now in the second phase of the campaign, where we thank our community for their feedback regarding our COVID-19 reporting.

We received lots of feedback from our readers and even published a selection of reader’s letters.

Counteracting fake news with an information hub

In a time where the internet is rife with fake news, KURIER has created a clear and easy-to-use hub to thwart misinformation. By bundling all relevant information about the COVID-19 pandemic in one place, they make it easy for the public to know where to go for reliable, trustworthy updates.

There’s no need to comb through various news updates on the paper’s traditional homepage, as readers can get quickly and directly to the specific news they want about just this one topic.

Of course, this isn’t just something that works for a global pandemic. News and information hubs can be compact one-stop-shops for news about any particular topic. 

Faster news reporting with social media

I admit it might seem counterintuitive to include a social wall on a news hub, given how social media can be a breeding ground for fake news. But hear me out: it’s all about how you, as a media outlet, use social media on your website. You’re essentially providing the same information, just differently packaged and faster.

Current developments are very much setting the trend for traditional media to embrace social media as an additional, integrated, news source. Printed newspapers are a lot slower than websites, but even websites can’t move as fast as social media does. 

Consequently, it makes sense for trusted news media to use social media channels to provide the same reliable reporting they are providing in the paper and on their websites. But while a journalist is still working on the article to put on the website, you can already send out quick summaries in a tweet. You ensure you are as fast and current as other news outlets, and you also open a dialogue with your readers.

Turning social media into a trustworthy news source

A social wall is a convenient way to then embed that information on your website as well, getting twice the use out of the content and bridging the time it takes to get a “proper” article written and published on the site.

By including public posts from other sources, aggregating it via a hashtag, you add even more information to your social wall and website. Like KURIER, you will likely have to moderate the social wall to make sure no fake news makes it onto it, but moderating posts with Walls.io is easy and a small trade-off for being able to display content from a variety of outside sources.

For example, KURIER’s #BeatTheVirus social wall includes a post by an Austrian hospital giving an update about the impending ease of lockdown. That’s content that is already being produced by another source, and yet it’s important content that provides information to KURIER readers:

With a bit of post moderation, you can turn your social wall into a treasure trove of current and trusted news that will round out your website.

Start a news hub!