The Mario Blog
Espen Egil Hansen: man of a thousand daily front pages

I say it often: Espen Egil Hansen, CEO /Editor in Chief of Norway’s Aftenposten is one of the most progressive and inventive newspaper editors in the globe today.  After spending this week with him and his team, I reaffirm my statement.

This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, October 26

Update #3, Friday, Oct. 23, 13h EST

Espen Egil Hansen turned 50 this week.  He is old enough to remember life without the benefits of the Internet and the golden era of print, but young enough to have spent a large part of his journalistic career working almost exclusively with digital.

Watch him move around the newsroom of Aftenposten and you see an editor who trusts his talented team, but who is as involved with the look and feel of a new product as he is with how to make every storytelling count.  Not just for some stories, but for all stories.

Not just that, Espen also wants his team to embrace new forms of storytelling, which is part of what makes my role working closely with Espen and with the team of Aftenposten so special: high levels of excitement and experimentation at every turn.  Our workshops here are among the most creative and inspiring I have ever conducted.

In one of those intensive workshops this week, Espen suddenly mentioned, in passing, that “we produce a thousand front pages everyday.”  

While he was making a point to express his take on one of his most passionate pleas, that of insisting on quality now, emphasizing constant updates, I made him stop and elaborate, since this is at the heart of the issue of frequency which readers of TheMarioBlog know I am passionate about.

“What do you mean a thousand front pages?,” I asked.

“It means exactly that,” Espen said. 

“A story develops, and a few minutes later it is updated, but so are another group of stories, and within a half hour all of those stories may have moved down on the hierarchy, and a new set of stories has moved in. It is as if another front page emerges, then another one.  In the newsrooms where updating is treated right, a new front page as such is born every few minutes, as it should.”

“The challenge now is to cluster the content to allow for personalization. The point is that in the newspaper world, and in the early days of Internet, everyone got the same. Not good enough anymore.”

I often mention that mobile users return to their newspaper brand several times a day. Ideally, their newspaper editors have updated the material, included new photos, refreshed the stories, added new ones.  When this does not happen, the user feels cheated.  We want constant updates.

The project in which we are currently involved at Aftenposten is just about that, not just the frequency of updates, but also how stories are told at certain times of the day.  

“It is not just how a story breaks, but how it is developed minute by minute, how the journalists craft that story at every turn,” Espen tells the workshop participants.

“That story needs to have a common visual language and I want that language to extend across platforms, including print,” he says.

“A challenge we have is that some of our readers come back all the time, but most of the readers come back less frequently and today we treat both groups of readers the same. They get the same product.  Again, that is not good enough anymore. We have to recognize you, know something about you and tell you: this is what you missed out, but for those coming often, we have something new for you.”

Espen adds:

“Today we are putting out a thousand front pages, but if we are to really meet the needs of each specific reader, we will have to produce millions of front pages everyday. That's the challenge.”

Now you know how the Aftenposten project is so fascinating and groundbreaking.

Espen Egil Hansen is definitely a most digitally minded editor, but he ,nonetheless , treats print with more than just reverence and respect. He wants to give the printed edition of Aftenposten its proper place in the world of the media quintet. 

For the man of the 1000 front pages in a day, that one printed front page still carries a lot of importance.  We are working hard to make it special, too.

Stay tuned.

News strategies we like

While Republican lawmakers spent more than eight hours aggressively questioning former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday about her role in the handling of the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack that killed four Americans, The New York Times offered its online readers a 3-minute video with highlights.

Meanwhile, at CNN, the strategy was “11 Benghazi takeaways: One for each hour”, with short summaries of highlights from Republicans' questioning of Clinton.

The Washington Post's front page offered four Hillary headshots, displaying various emotions, and with the time frame on them. Good stuff.

Way to go!

Getting the most out of Multi Platforms

Some thoughts about breaking news in the era of the media quintet during my participation in The Newspaper Works, Sydney, Australia, September 2015

At Columbia University: Journalism + Silicon Valley Nov. 12

I am honored to be part of a panel during this upcoming day-long seminar Nov. 12 at Columbia University.

It is free to attend and here are additional details

About the program:

Journalism is increasingly dependent on + influenced by the companies that dominate the social web.  Social networks + search companies like Facebook, Twitter & Google are no longer “just platforms” or conduits and are now actively shaping how journalism is practiced + funded.

The new paradigm that puts together the culture, technologies + business models of Silicon Valley with the practice of independent journalism is creating opportunities + challenges for both fields.

The Tow Center is committed to researching + explaining this critical new landscape with the aim of identifying and teaching best practices to a new generation of journalists + fostering wider understanding of how the public is influenced in the 21st Century.

 For an up-to-date schedule and speaker roster for the day, visit:

Topics will include:

The relationship between news organizations and social networks
The rights and responsibilities of platforms and publishers
Improving quality and depth in the technology journalism beat
How newsrooms have adapted to storytelling through platforms to reach new audiences
The benefits and drawbacks of news organizations tackling their own platforms and distribution mechanisms
Lessons for news organizations as they diversify their revenue streams
A reception will follow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation

This conference is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


NOVEMBER 12 @ 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Journalism + Silicon Valley
Columbia Journalism School
Pulitzer Hall



Hashtag: #TowJSV

Tow Twitter Handle: @TowCenter

TheMarioBlog post # 2033

Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
White (space) is the new trend for print
Blog Post10.31.2017—1am
Turkey: the jailing of an art director
Blog Post10.30.2017—1am
Need a job?
Blog Post10.27.2017—2am
The Economist & Snapchat Discover: Respecting young audiences
Blog Post10.26.2017—2am
The Wall: Get ready for the prototypes
Blog Post10.25.2017—5am
The New York Times’ website redesign: less is best and, please, sign in
Blog Post10.24.2017—5am
At The Washington Post, The Lily hits its own chords
Blog Post—5am
The Lily: new Washington Post product hits its own chords
Blog Post10.23.2017—1am
Coloring opinions
Blog Post10.20.2017—1am
Digital Media Conference: First Day highlights
Blog Post10.19.2017—6am
Speaking today at the North America Digital Media Conference
Blog Post10.18.2017—1am
Long narratives still have a coveted place
Blog Post10.17.2017—1am
Some good print-related news
Blog Post10.16.2017—1am
Digital Transformation: no newsroom is too small to attempt it
Blog Post10.13.2017—12am
WAN IFRA: the best of digital awards
Blog Post10.12.2017—12am
Taking your brand to where the young audience is: Instagram
Blog Post10.11.2017—1am
Multitaskers consume more media
Blog Post10.10.2017—12am
Germany’s Sūdkurier: workshops for digital transformation
Blog Post10.09.2017—1am
In Spain’s El Mundo: native ads
Blog Post09.29.2017—1am
For newspaper publishers, not much to sing about?
Blog Post09.28.2017—1am
Interesting reference about new digital story formats
Blog Post09.27.2017—1am
It’s a new mobile-focused redesign for
Blog Post09.26.2017—1am
Three things that caught our eye
Blog Post09.25.2017—1am
Paywalls & newspapers: from leaky to hard ones, and in between
Blog Post09.22.2017—4am
Mexican earthquake: front pages tell the story
Blog Post09.21.2017—1am
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.