In Helsingin Sanomat we’ve started to publish stories that adapt to our readers. This text is the second of its kind. We believe these stories are groundbreaking: they haven’t been made before in Finland, and we haven’t seen any abroad either. The text and graphics can take over a million different forms. This story lets you see how you’re doing in life, written in a compassionate way.
Our first adaptive story was about housing prices in Finland. It was based on an idea about expanding tailored content from our calculators and searches to the whole story. This story took that idea to a whole another level, since the data behind the story was much more extensive.
There were about 15 different data sets from different sources, including Statistics Finland and National Institute for Health and Welfare. The data was mostly based on research and querys to Finns.
The story was mainly put together by the writer, who spent about two weeks total with this project. One person in the newsroom made the illustration and two people helped with the coding.
The groundbreaking form got a lot of attention from the audience. The story was one of HS.fi’s hits during autumn 2016.
How do you write and edit a story that can take over one million different forms? The challenge was to write in a way that would feel coherent. The answer was to divide the readers into a few main groups and to approach the groups in different tones. That way both the young student and the elderly retired person would feel that the text really had them specifically in mind. Before publishing the text was “crowdsource-edited” by the newsroom, who gave comments from their perspective. Other challenge was to write the story in a way that wouldn’t make the content just to seem a collection of numbers but instead a narrative with a compassionate voice aimed specifically at you.