How Romania’s Decât o Revistã is doubling down on its community during Covid

As physical events take a hit, DOR is investing in its community.

Takeaways

  • Decât o Revistã’s (DOR) event revenue has taken a hit because of Covid
  • DOR is doubling down on community and launching new products to engage subscribers 
  • The frequency of stories has increased, but this may return to normal once the covid news cycle slows

 

Context

Ten-year-old DOR, a publication for narrative journalism that contextualizes modern day issues in Romania, has been built for and by its community, whether it’s the furnishings donated to decorate its first office or the community tips that lead journalists to their stories. 

Digital Editor Cătălina Albeanu explains that the community has remained a point of focus through the Covid-19 crisis. “Well documented stories are important and can bring people together with a sense of shared belonging and shared power,” Albeanu explained.

Community

DOR makes money off print publications, events, and digital memberships, the last of which was launched in December. Events have taken a hit, explained Albeanu, and will remain a big question mark. They’re looking at grants in the interim. Meanwhile, they’re doubling down on what has always worked for them — strengthening their community.

“Community has been very important for DOR,” Albeanu explained. With the pandemic, DOR has launched new products and adjusted editorial direction with the key mission of increasing engagement by creating a place where readers can understand daily Covid updates and share what they’ve been experiencing. They have:

  1. A daily curated newsletter of third party news with a “good news” section — it’s reached 3,300 subscriptions within a few weeks of launch
  2. Published around 25 stories identifying how people’s lives are changing during the pandemic
  3. Launched a collective journal with team members to discuss how their days are going
  4. Invited community contributions
  5. Opened a Slack community for members 
  6. Started webinars 

Albeanu adds there is a learning curve to adjust to a more frequent cadence of stories from the months their journalists usually take to report. This is a crisis-time decision and may slow if the flow of conversation around Covid eventually peters off.

Meghna is a writer in New York. Previously, she helped launch and was the managing editor of New York-based The Juggernaut, worked as a researcher at CB Insights, and reported on tech out of Bangalore for Tech in Asia. Follow Meghna Rao on Twitter.

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