Per-Anders Broberg (CEO and Editor-In-Chief of TT): The Corona pandemic has really shown the need and the value of an independent news agency with a constantly updated news service

The main conclusion drawn by TT's CEO and Editor-in-Chief after the first months of the pandemic is that news agencies are more important than ever, but, at the same time, the dependence on a very vulnerable market may signal some tough times ahead. With content numbers increasing, TT shows the new rule generated by the Covid-19 crisis is that news agencies produce more, and become more relevant within the media landscape, and beyond. 

What was the main experience you have drawn from the months of pandemic crisis, as a new manager of a news agency?

The pandemic has shown that we are more important than ever. TT News Agency shall in a factual and correct manner report about the Corona pandemic and its effects from all aspects, from covering the Public Health Agency's daily press conferences to reviewing political measures and following their effects.

TT's journalism is important for all major news media in Sweden and they rely on content and services from us around the clock, seven days a week. That’s why it is extremely important that we carry out that task well.

Which was TT's approach, financially and editorially, to the crisis? Did you launch new products? Did work processes and revenue streams change?

Immediate focus on Corona reporting. We started a live blog on March 2 and from mid-March it was up every day during the spring. In March we sent 78 news flashes and made over 100 live broadcasts.

We produced more content. The news service increased by 25% domestic material and 50% finance. Less sport, of course.

Since March 9, all non-editorial staff members have worked remotely, as has most of the editorial staff.

Our business has been marginally affected during the Corona crisis. These are above all assignments that we have not been able to complete when events have been canceled. Sports, for example. We have had a number of customers who have terminated the press release service due to uncertainty in their own industry.

How do you see the Swedish media environment after these months? Is there any crisis in the media in Sweden?

The Swedish media has a huge drop in their advertising business due to the pandemic. At the same time, the media consumption has increased. But I’m pretty sure there will be tough times ahead for an already vulnerable industry.

Is there any hope for traditional media in the future? Which would be the strong points, in your opinion, of a functional and well established news agency?

Absolutely. The Corona pandemic has really shown the need – and the value! – of an independent news agency with a constantly updated news service. We have fulfilled our mission and we have delivered what we are supposed to in all our areas. It’s been highly appreciated by our customers when faced with various challenges in their own activities. 

Interview by Alexandru Giboi (EANA Secretary General) for the "EANA Top Voices" project.