Portugal: Diário de Notícias repackages investigative journalism for readers

Posted on August 7, 2012


Diário de Notícias is bringing investigative journalism back, increasing sales by 14% while beginning an entirely new business that takes journalism from newspaper to bookshelf.

What can you do that is completely new in the market and in the production of newspapers? The answer to this question we have all asked, a true million-dollar question, isn’t easy to come by. No one has found it yet, but we are all trying.
At Diário de Notícias, we were asking that and many other questions. How can we make a difference in our market and in newspapers in general? How can we produce original, unique news that people want to read and buy — news people haven’t already heard?
Diário de Notícias is the second oldest newspaper in Portugal – almost 150 years old. It is a reference people turn to and a quality newspaper, available daily in print, on the Web, and mobile. We already deal with the major themes of politics and economics, providing good analysis and opinion. So we decided to invest in a new editorial and business area: investigative journalism. It’s nothing new, of course. But because of the current avalanche of information, investigation, one of the most distinctive features of journalism, seems to be an art lost to the past. 
All we did, then, was recover it.
Is that the solution? So sorry… but it is not. It is just a way of doing things — a good one, we think. And we are very satisfied with and proud of the results.
In the first week of January 2011, after three months of work, we published our first special investigation. At first, we wanted to do a survey of the large sectors of society, such as public administration. The results? For one week, we published more than 40 editorial pages and 80 online articles on the subject and enjoyed 200,000 pageviews on our Web site and an almost 14% increase in our sales — tremendous figures for us. We challenged the brand and our readers, but also politics, economics, and society as a whole.
We have also created a new business area by beginning to publish books. So far, we have five issues in our special investigation book series. We also have developed a series of conferences — for every special investigation project, we bring the greatest experts on the subject together in our auditorium.
So far, we have been successful in this major challenge to our brand — achieving bigger sales and generating more Web site views. And we did so with minimal costs and without increasing our editorial budget; we relied on teamwork from our editorial team, without new hires. Without increasing our editorial budget, we have managed to increase our general productivity.
Author/Contact: Filomena Martins is managing editor at Diário de Notícias, based in Lisbon, Portugal. She can be reached at Filomena.martins@dn.pt.