NRK Nordland is a regional station in northern Norway. Our region is 800km of coastline from north to south, but right below 250,000 people are living here. We’re on Facebook with 19,000 friends, the Twitter account is growing, Instagram is new to us, but we are there, trying to be where people are. 

Every year from January until April there is a traditional cod-fishery going on here. The cod swim all the way from the Barents Sea to our region to spawn. This has been going on for hundreds of years, and this fishery is supplying Europe with cod, much of it dried and sold as stockfish for bacalao. 

This year we decided to cover this seasonal fishery more thoroughly, not just in a news story or two, but for two weeks, with lots of stories in all media and a plan for social media. In addition to news stories on the cod fishery itself, we presented the history of it, more curious stories and even asked people to share their best cod recipes. 

A slow-web-TV stunt was to be the highlight of this commitment. We decided to follow a fisherman at work, as he’s leaving for the sea, fishing cod and returning. Two video journalists with three cameras joined him on his little fishing vessel and filmed everything. It was planned as a webstream minute by minute, but due to the lack of broadband on board it had to be a taped stream, not live.

This was planned exclusively for the web and social media, but as the two VJs returned with 3 ½ hours of beauty shots we found that it deserved a bigger audience, and offered it to NRK2. So these hours of cod fishing were broadcasted on national TV as well. 

A 15-second promotion video was used on social media as well as on regional TV and we got some good press coverage in local papers and online media before broadcasting. But the direct feedback came from people on social media that looked forward to seeing the cod adventure minute by minute. A reach of 18,472 and 231 likes on Facebook before people actually had even seen anything.

The webstream and TV-program was broadcast on a Sunday afternoon from 4.30 pm till 8 pm. Comments went from “Great to see proper fish that isn’t squareshaped”, “I liked this! Enjoyed myself tremendously. Thank you!”, “Fantastic nature, thanks to the viking and NRK!” to some more “expert comments” about the fishery. We tweeted with a personal twist, posted stories and photos on Facebook and Instagram and replied to and liked messages from our users. We later regretted that we didn’t make an own NRK hashtag with #nrkskrei (#nrkcod), but several other hashtags were used. 

The NRK2 TV-stream had 500,000 people dropping by, while nearly 80,000 saw it all (for context, there are 5 million people in Norway). The rating was higher than on an ordinary Sunday on NRK2. 3,700 viewers watched the webstream now and then and 1,239 followed us all the way online. Adding the TV-TV broadcast to the project boosted the activity on social media. Tweets were retweeted and favoured, Facebook stories were liked and shared and we had new followers on Instagram. A taste of success! 

Tone Kunst is NRK Nordland's Editor in Chief and Anna Brandal is a Junior Editor at NRK Nordland. Both presented and particpated at CIRCOM Regional's Social Media Workshop at ROOS Dagen 2014.