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Pokémon Go Inspires BT's Community Journalism

In Borås, Pokémon Go thinking renews local community journalism. The research and innovation project Beta Borås 2 is now being published in the city centre via QR codes. 'We want to be seen in the urban environment and show how much local journalism we provide about the city and the people who live here,' says Frida Dam Bergstedt of the test editorial staff.

The second stage of the Beta Borås project at Borås Tidning started this spring. The purpose is to develop engaging local community journalism for 25-35-year-olds based on experimental research. The latest test investigates whether the driving forces in Pokémon Go and geocaching – GPS-based treasure hunt – also work for journalistic narrative. Younger target groups are attracted by the form in other contexts.

The project has provided ten central locations in Borås with QR codes When a reader scans the code, they receive a story unique to the location directly in their mobile phone. In the city park, for example, you can see and read more about the idea of a 'super park' throughout the whole of Borås. At Gustav Adolf Church, you can follow along on a trip up the tower with a 360-degree camera.

- We are going to test things that have not been done before. Then we can hopefully find new ways to reach out with our narratives, says Anton Hedberg, who is also part of the test editorial staff.

An additional idea behind the experiment is to re-use and utilise the capital of journalism within the BT archive. One example is a sign that has been posted where Borås stadshotell burned down in 1978. It was a tragic event that deeply affected the city and its residents. 20 people died and 59 were injured.

Even if Beta Borås is focussed on 25-35-year-olds, the test editorial staff believes that the sub-project with QR codes and location-based journalism can attract people regardless of age.

Beta Borås 2

  • A subsequent stage in the 2018 pilot project. Borås Tidning was the test environment for an entirely independent test editorial staff whose task was to test and develop engaging local community journalism for the target age group of 25-35 years.
  • Beta Borås 2 started on 1 April 2019 and is planned to run for one year.
  • Partners are Borås Tidning, Gota Media's development team, RISE Interactive, Södertörn University and Medier & Demokrati.
  • Project funding totals roughly three million kronor and, in addition to the partners' own investment, has been financed externally with SEK 1.5 million by the Anne-Marie and Gustaf Anders Foundation for media research and Gota Media.