10 January 2015 / media relations / digital media /

Joan Condijts reflects on his first year as editor in chief of L’Echo

You've been editor of L’Echo for more than a year now. How would you sum up your experience over the first twelve months?

Overall, it's been quite positive. We achieved our goal with L’Echo. It is often considered as a stock market newspaper for small-time investors, but it is so much more than that. So we worked on the content. In one year, we managed to extend our spectrum and the news we cover, currently spanning from Belgian and international politics right through to culture. This is much more in keeping with a real business newspaper; our readers need economic news, but this doesn't stop at figures. It’s important to offer high-quality political news. This is what we do today. Our readers also like to be entertained, and we want to offer them high-quality cultural news.

How did you manage to boost the newspaper’s profile?

From an editorial point of view, we did this via special reports and analysis. This allowed us to become more well-known amongst our potential readers. We influenced public opinion with events and special reports, be it via the debate between Bart De Wever and Paul Magnette or via the supplement on Fortis or our inquiry into wealthy French nationals in Belgium, which required weeks of investigation. These are strong products which boost L’Echo's profile.

By widening the spectrum of news that you cover, don't you run the risk of neglecting your core business topics?

We have clearly invested in extending the spectrum, particularly by recruiting journalists to strengthen these areas. But I'm very careful in ensuring that L’Echo remains cutting edge in the fields where we are already leading. Business lies at the heart of our concern, as does the economy in general, and the stock exchange in particular.

Does this strategy differ for the digital versus the hardcopy versions of the newspaper?

What I said applies to all the different media because we publish the newspaper in all the different formats. This is one of L'Echo's great strengths. Which doesn't stop us from taking a different approach to news published for the print newspaper, the website and the tablet version.

How is this difference reflected, concretely?

Because we have a subscription-based site, we are able to provide news with a high added value on a continuous basis. We favour instantaneity for the web and design the content according to Internet-specific consumption- some news will be more fun, presented differently, with issues that people can relate to more easily. As reading time is more limited, we adjust our content in order to offer more brief, lively news which is sometimes more quirky, with videos like those featuring the columnist Bruno Coppens.

Do you have any specific corporate communication advice?

Who am I to give advice? I can tell you about the expectations we have as a newspaper and as journalists. There is a fundamental point to bear in mind: we process news in order to interest our readers and to be read. So it's important for companies that they think about what may interest readers. Some companies do extraordinary things which are really of a general interest, but they are not aware of this fact.

The reverse is also true: some have the impression that they do extraordinary things but they're not very interesting for our readers or for the general public. We must ask ourselves: which messages that I wish to convey will really interest others? The best criterion is often yourself; an entrepreneur is also a reader...


Nathalie van Ypersele

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