Published documents in 2017
Counts only distinct document publications, i.e. articles written and published by a journalist. The rise in print is explained by NZZ writing all print articles in Livingdocs starting November 2017.
NZZ did think big. The project was not just about upgrading from a legacy system, but about building the infrastructure for a digital future of the whole newspaper. There was one core challenge: One newsroom should write for both online and print edition. Using one tool: Livingdocs.
It was clear that for this to work, Livingdocs, a browser-based web editor, would need to support a lot of print specifics. Moreover, we needed to define a new workflow that could bring together two mostly separated worlds: writing for print and writing for the web.
The NZZ became an innovative lab environment where together we could find a novel way to work the newspaper business. A unified approach now brings print and online together, allows easy and quick setups of new content products and supports the regional outlets. Content comes alive in this environment, and it becomes the foundation on which a subscription-based business model can be built and maintained.
The key to the solution was the component-based nature of Livingdocs. In Livingdocs, an article is not a template, but a flexible arrangement of about 20 smaller templates, the components. Going from an online article to a print article is just a translation of one component set into another. The same is true across products, e.g. going from the daily edition to the sunday edition or the lifestyle magazine.
Today, there are about 500 components at NZZ spread over 24 different sets in 6 different content products. The design team updates those sets in a two-weekly rhythm and improvements are continually integrated. Gone are the days of the big re-design. The journalists work comfortably in their web-browser and can flexibly write for the whole range of products, creating the best possible reading experience for different audiences. Even the proofreaders profit from the use of components through a system that highlights only the components that changed since the last spellchecking review.
The systems landscape was drastically simplified. There is one single entry point for production: Livingdocs. Articles written for print in Livingdocs are sent to WoodWing Enterprise for post-processing in InDesign. InCopy licenses are not needed anymore. Even the newsletters are written in Livingdocs and sent to Adobe marketing cloud only for delivery.
The editorial planning happens in Desk-Net. Data journalism doesn’t need a separate team anymore, but its application has been simplified so far that it is integrated into the newsroom and any editor can use components to visualize analyses. For this, NZZ built the Q Tool that is seamlessly integrated into Livingdocs.
The frontend applications are developed by NZZ. They built a web framework (Morpheus) which works with Livingdocs as a backend and a flexible native app builder called VAMP, based on react native. The paywall is CeleraOne and payments are handled in SAP. In addition to their own delivery channels, Livingdocs supports a wealth of other channels such as Facebook Instant articles or Google AMP.