Italy's 'instant' national paper creates split-level edits to drive paywall

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Launching a new national newspaper - at newsstands and online - during a full pandemic lockdown brought challenges and unique opportunities.

Instead of the transitions from print to digital being experienced by other publishers, Italian national daily Domani - founded by Carlo De Benedetti and helmed by Stefano Feltri - has gone directly to 'digital first" with an inclusive paywall and a revolutionary approach to production.

Some of the inside story of developing a "newspaper without typography" comes from Federico Marturano, whose company managed and delivered the editorial product.

In the cloud-based "smart" project, the entire editorial team can work on page templates without being in the office, with all the tools necessary for an editorial strategy based on premium paid content already integrated into the website.

Marturano, who is chief operating officer of Atex, describes it as "the first Italian newspaper without typography" - the editorial look-and-feel designed directly by editors, and pages based on pre-defined templates.

"The articles are written for the web first and then paginated by journalists, with a minimalist style designed to best transfer digital content to print," he says.

The technology also includes a native application for iOS and Android smartphones, and new type of paywall.

"Unlike what happens today on many news sites, every Domani article is available in two versions, one free and one paid. The free version is organised by topic with three bullet points allowing the reader to understand the concept of the article in a few seconds.

"Those who want to know more can choose the paid-for full version of the article. We define this as an 'inclusive' paywall."

Feltri says the newspaper will not chase breaking news, but instead make quality analysis and reader-funded surveys its forte. An innovative DAM allows editorial staff to search and organise any type of content and editorial assets to enable the creation of complex multi-channel stories.

"We also have advanced management of collaborators, both through a dedicated portal which allows the employee to manage personal and billing data, and also through a management portal for reconciliation and reporting, which updates production costs daily," he says.

Marturano says the 'turnkey' publishing solution has been built in just three months using inhouse and partner technologies has been fully implemented during the pandemic. "It was possible to build a new newspaper from scratch without ever physically meeting its editor," he says.

with Atex Global Media

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