Le Temps has a 13 member digital team dedicated to the 80 journalists of the newsroom. Here is what we achieved between May 16, 2015, and June 2, 2016.
We redesigned and launched a new, full responsive website in October 2015, powered by Drupal8, at first in a public beta version. Rather than working on a «smarter», «more modern» or «trendy» site, we set efficiency-based goals: the ergonomy of the new site was to help grabbing a quality audience, by increasing the average page visit time and bringing our users to read more pages.
We tremendously developed our interactive projects. We implemented a toolbox designed to make our projects easier and faster to produce (see below). We published many long form stories. Our long form on Tchernobyl was our most read story in 2016. We also publish many interactive maps and timelines.
With two video journalists on our team only, we chose to focus on three patterns: scientific or geopolitic explainer videos (which always prove popular), short reporting videos and product test videos. We also experiment motion design.
To increase the user engagement on our website through social networks is capital for us. We invited some of our Facebooks fans to visit our newsroom in May. We also launched three native social features for our Facebook page: a Booktube-like program in which our book critics share their favorites and books suggested by our fans; a career advice program in which a journalist answers questions and shares tips; and an audiogram program dedicated to poetry, inspired by WYNC radio station. Every month, we schedule an Internet chat that allows our users to discuss various issues on line with our journalists or guest experts.
Creating a digital toolbox was an important step we took to standardize and increase our production. It brings together our html templates (sliders, long forms etc.) and the tools we adapted from external sources or developed in-house. It helps us to be more reactive on a daily basis. All the journalists on our team have a basic knowledge of html that enables them to use these templates independently.
We carried out several datajournalism projects. We used to data to investigate campaign financing for the Swiss elections, or to compare how Uber competes with regular taxis in Switzerland. We launched the Twitterbot @immo_alerte that feeds us with the latest transactions on the housing estate market in Geneva, it scrapes land register data and can publish maps showing actual rent prices in Geneva in real time.
Le Temps developed a partnership with Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Bibliotheque nationale suisse (BNS) to simplify the access to our digitalized achives while improving the user experience, through a semantic search engine and an API. A move that proved successful, even leading a fan reader to create a Facebook group dedicated to our achives. We have invited developers, historians and designers to a hackathon in June to take advantage of this tool.
We share our experiences on our «Making of» blog. We publish some of our code open source on Github.