Published 2015-01-08

Guest editors from the general public

Bergens Tidende invites its real owners – its readers – to play a part in creating the newspaper. After four days, more than 350 nominations have been received.

Traditionally, journalists have conducted one-way communication without much involvement from their readers, and that worked fine before. But the editorial desk can no longer hide behind closed doors – it needs to open them to the public.

“The newspaper of the future will not be edited by editors alone; tomorrow’s regional newspaper will be the result of a collaborative project. It will provide an arena for the exchange of views, knowledge sharing, critique, and ideas. This has been the prevailing attitude among all of BT’s editors in recent years. More openness, more reader participation,” says Gard Steiro, BT’s editor-in-chief.

BT: Åpent hus (in Norwegian)

In the new age of social media where we’ve all become our own editors and where everyone can publish their views without having to go via a desk, it is clear that the time has come for newspapers to take on new forms and new alliances. Conventional investigative and reporting news journalism will prevail and will continue to form the core, but more of the content in will be created by people other than those sitting behind closed doors.

That is why BT is inviting several readers into its editorial offices.

“The readers should not be invited as guests, but rather as guest editors. Several British and American newspapers have already taken similar steps. They have allowed their readers to decide some of their journalistic priorities. Which topics ought to be discussed? Who deserves to be heard? Which news stories are so important that the public should be given insight into them? These are questions our guest editors will decide. Together with our editorial desk, he or she will shape some of our editions. On those days BT will come out in a different form,” says Steiro.

“This is no stunt; it signals our change of direction in the coming years. BT will not be just a media organization; it will be a medium for people in western Norway who have something to say.”

How does it work?

All readers can nominate BT’s guest editors. Do you know someone who you think could enrich our newspaper? Do you know someone who deserves a platform? Submit your nominations to Thousands of people have already liked our page, and more than 700 applications and nominations have been submitted since the article/invitation was published on on Monday 5 January.

You can nominate a researcher, writer, neighbor, teacher or a school class. You can even nominate yourself. BT welcomes all suggestions!