Former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow on Election Social

Credit: Sky News

As results from today's UK general election (12 December 2019) come filtering in, Sky News and BuzzFeed UK are joining forces to deliver through-the-night expert analysis. It will be live-streamed on various digital platforms in a bid to reach audiences of both news organisations.

Two journalists from each organisation will pair up to interview a range of guests on topical subjects, such as climate change, mental health and inclusivity.

The show will be streamed live from Sky HQ on both news organisations' main social channels: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It will run in parallel to live election results on Sky News' Brexit Election TV.

At a time when news organisations are being encouraged to collaborate to find solutions to shared problems, Journalism.co.uk emailed both teams to ask why teaming up makes sense from their point of view and which problems they are looking to solve.

BuzzFeed News confirmed there were no financial stakes in the collaboration as digital content is currently not going to be monetised. The point of the collaboration is to expand both organisations' viewership by tapping into each other's audiences.

Considering 85 per cent of BuzzFeed UK users are under the age of 45, that was a key selling point for Sky News.

"We want to tap into the different ways people will be following the election online and the engagement around key moments as the night unravels. For most young audiences this is not just a political event, it’s a cultural one," explained Alan Strange, output editor, digital, Sky News.

On the other hand, Sky News has become almost synonymous with breaking election results and a go-to for traditional news audiences. It reported the outcome of the 2017 general election faster than any competitor, projecting a hung parliament at 3.57am on 9 June.

Stuart Millar, editor, BuzzFeed UK said this was an opportunity to show hardened news audiences that BuzzFeed UK can do more than entertainment content.

"We're always looking for new ways to reach all different types of people and provide news in a smart, focused way which makes even the most complicated issues more digestible," he said.

Often, collaborations are hard because of clashes over editorial judgement and project vision, both editors indicated. The two organisations seemed unified on embracing both soft and hard news content within digital election coverage: mixing games and quizzes alongside down-to-the-wire reporting.

"It's all the best parts of BuzzFeed: it's sharp analysis, interviews with guests few would think to speak to, and covering issues young people care about, that wouldn’t feature on other results shows," said Millar.

Strange added: "The collaboration with BuzzFeed works nicely because it gives us access to engaged, diverse, slightly younger audiences we wouldn’t otherwise have access to and on the flip side, Sky News brings expertise and authority, both from a news point of view and a broadcast point of view. It’s a really exciting blend."

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