According to the Reuters Insitute’s Digital News Report 2022, 32% of Swedes and 28% of Norwegians are “news avoiders”. The issue and term have been met with great attention in the news industry, often focusing on how past consumers churn due to an overwhelming and distressing newsflow. IN/LAB reframes the challenge:
“We need to listen to the information needs and desires of diverse groups of people, not only focus on past consumers opting out of news,” Siv Juvik Tveitnes, EVP Schibsted News Media and board member of the lab, says.
IN/LAB, short for inclusion lab, will explore how to reach people whom the lab defines as “news outsiders”
“News outsiders are far from one homogenous group. What we know is that we, the news media, are not giving everybody the same conditions to access and consume news. Factors like age and gender, language skills, level of education, and socio-economic status are all important for us to consider,” says Agnes Stenbom who leads the new joint venture.
Kjersti Løken Stavrum, CEO of Tinius Trust and Chair of the board of IN/LAB, further motivates the focus on news outsiders:
“For the social mission of the media – and for our democracies – it is vital that we make a tremendous effort to reach those who do not relate to independent, fact-based journalism. Our joint venture is set up to explore both why they don’t and how to reach them,” Løken Stavrum says.
Using a design thinking approach for research and experimentation, the lab aims to explore emerging technologies to pursue inclusive news experiences.
“To reach new groups, we have to try new approaches,” says Agnes Stenbom.
Stenbom has previously worked in Schibsted Data & Tech, with a role focusing on responsible AI development. In connection to her role at IN/Lab, she is an industrial doctoral student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology where she does research on artificial intelligence and journalism.
Belenn Bekele and Molly Grönlund Müller are also part of the small inaugural team. Bekele has previously worked with digital development projects for the United Nations in Liberia and Impact Hub in Stockholm. Grönlund Müller has a background as project manager with a focus on democracy and inclusion issues in the Swedish municipalities Arjeplog and Danderyd. They will both work as Community Researchers; a role combining community outreach and user research.
“Our challenge is to establish a trustful and constructive dialogue with groups we do not reach today, and genuinely listen to divergent perspectives. By doing so we will have a strong basis for our experiments,” Agnes Stenbom says.
During the past months, the team has focused on getting up and running – and starting their research. The first sprint has focused on young news outsiders in outer city areas in Stockholm.
The board of the joint venture consists of:
Kjersti Løken Stavrum, CEO, Tinius Trust (Chair)
Siv Juvik Tveitnes, EVP Schibsted News Media
Einar Hålien, Group Editor, Schibsted
Fredic Karén, SVP Editorial Transformation, Schibsted News Media
Sumeet Singh Patipia, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Schibsted
Andreas Bengsson, Head of Schibsted Futures Lab
The IN/LAB team is initially based in Stockholm, but will work internationally in Schibsted’s markets.
For further information, contact:
Agnes Stenbom, Head of Lab