A missed opportunity

Denmark is a nation of newspaper readers, and we certainly read a lot compared to other European countries. There is a great variety of newspapers and a long, proud tradition of independent journalism. Lately the Danes have been enriched by three free morning papers. Two of them suddenly popped up to give the long awaited Icelandic version some serious competition.

The truly disappointing thing is that the publishers have failed to embrace the huge innovative potentials at hand. The list of new progressive media concepts world-wide is long and the emphasis is generally on user involvement, flexibility and cross media solutions. Korean OhMyNews is an excellent example of citizen journalism being both very competitive and also showing great integrity and high journalistic quality. Several (especially american) printed and digital news media use both photos, video and articles from their users. Their credibility is not necessarily compromised – actually it seems that a lot of readers prefer to receive the information straight from the source.

Every online trend points towards more focus on social aspects, involving the users (readers) and providing them with dynamic, individually adjusted content.

In that perspective it is disappointing to watch the two largest Danish newspaper publishing houses release such unambitious and almost identical newspapers. This could have been a golden opportunity to experiment with technology, services and concepts. The only paper that is just vaguely interested in developing the media is Nyhedsavisen who also spend more than just a couple of days on developing the design. The integrated blogs and comment features won’t impeach Bush, but it’s a start though. Also they are the only ones really claiming to have an ambitious journalistic profile.

It could all have been so exciting, but instead the paperboys now go on a daily trip to the beach to burn the pile of papers we don’t really want.

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