American politics – the focus of a new Nordic collaboration

Thanks to its drama and colourful characters, the USA and American domestic politics hold a deep fascination for Nordic audiences. Prior to the midterm elections in November 2018, a new Nordvision collaboration emerged. With a strong focus on digital and interactive content, this led to a whole new way of presenting election coverage to Nordic viewers.

Thanks to the Nordvision collaboration, coverage of the American midterm elections could be provided in several languages. The screen on the left shows the SVT version of DR’s original content (to the right)

Dating apps are popular among many Nordic smartphone users. But what if a similar feature could tell you whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, based on American politics?

At Yle, this idea resulted in an online service where users could swipe to answer questions and discover their political affiliation.

“It seems innovative to have our own version of Tinder, and this is a format we haven’t used before,” says Mette Nordström, Head of Foreign News at Yle News.

Nordic countries share a similar view of the USA For a political event of this scale, there was much to be gained from the collaboration between the Nordvision partners.

Each participating broadcaster provided digital content, which the partners could then include in their own coverage later on.

“This is of real benefits to all of us who cover foreign news. The BBC and other providers cannot cover the rest of the world from a Nordic perspective. But in the Nordic countries, we have a common perception of the USA,” Mette Nordström says.

A direct result of the collaboration, which received funding from Nordvision, was a ’prejudice test’ produced by DR. SVT in turn published a translated version for their Swedish audience.


Enables testing of new digital content

Janne Lindström, Planning Editor at SVT, takes the opportunity to praise his Nordic colleagues in this collaboration.

“They’ve delivered truly excellent material. When it comes to this topic, Scandinavia and the Nordic region have a common mindset, and it’s a great idea to work together – it helps us get as close to the political issues as possible,” he says.

Mette Nordström shares this enthusiasm about the results of the collaboration so far.

“It’s an excellent way to try out new, shared formats for digital content, and it’s a great chance to access and use each other’s digital content,” she says.


Focus on mobile platforms

“These efforts are clearly aimed at mobile platforms. It’s great that we can get hold of the finished materials from the other editorial teams, but I hope that in future we’ll be able to coordinate with each other right from the conceptual stage,” says Janne Lindström.

Mette Nordström has similar expectations.

“I hope that we can develop this collaboration even further. So far, most of our work has takenplace through conversations, but hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”