Spotlight: German Elections

Reading time: 4 min

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats party (CDU) romped to a convincing victory in Germany’s general election Sept. 22. They won more than 40 per cent of the vote in Europe’s most populous country. As ScribbleLive works with some of the country’s most respected media organisations, there are some great examples of our clients using the platform to report election night news.

In this Spotlight, we’re bringing together some of the interesting ways that media—both German and international—used the platform to keep readers abreast of the election.


German media

Spiegel Online

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Spiegel Online’s editorial team gave its readers a full-blown real-time experience as the election results rolled in. The slick ‘liveticker’ (made with Scribble’s API) provided a steady stream of information throughout the day with the latest polling figures, reaction from the parties and posts from social media. Its coverage also stood out because of the video live stream that sat on top the page. Some of the time, the video feed showed the speeches at the various parties’ HQs, but the rest of the time it was trained on Spiegel’s editorial department, where its journalists were discussing and analysing all the action. A fantastic multimedia approach.


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Süddeutsche managed to strike a very fine balance between reporting the macro and micro angles of election day. They had reporters at all the relevant party conferences who were working collaboratively to update the live event with all the expected facts, figures and statistics. But they also made the effort to tell the human story behind the votes. One of the journalists followed a young, first-time voter throughout the day, from his kitchen where they discussed politics to the voting booth and back home again. The previous election saw a historically low turnout among young voters, and SZ felt that although they only made up three per cent of the eligible population, their voices needed to be heard. A really nice touch.


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FAZ committed a number of bodies from its editorial team to work on the live election coverage—and it shows. The coverage is characterised by longer analytical posts and includes many pictures and graphs. It’s important to note their intelligent use of social media, too. They pulled in interesting content from Twitter, but rather than simply publishing tweets raw, they added them to Advanced Posts and provided context to the social updates.


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Mittelbayerische created an election home page to host all the information that was flowing throughout the day. The page consisted of real-time graphs and infographics, relevant articles and, on the right hand side, the ScribbleLive feed. Its feed had a good mix of content, from reaction to analysis and a smart use of mobile video reporting. For readers who wanted to focus solely on the feed, they could click through and be taken to Mittelbayerische’s white label page. A special mention goes to the German press agency, DPA, who syndicated their excellent election feed out via ScribbleLive – which was picked up by organisations including Mittelbayerische, who used it to supplement their own coverage.


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Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, part of the German national broadcaster ARD, went for a second-screen approach with its live coverage. The live broadcast of its TV coverage—where a number of guests discussed the action on the ‘Election Studio’—lived on the Elections page. The MDR ScribbleLive feed was on the right side, bringing together the key information from the election as well as the voice of its readers through social media and Scribble comments. To make it clear it was interactive, MDR published a call to action on the page inviting its readers to take part.



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Stimme, a regional publication from Heilbronn in the south of the country, had a hyper-local approach to the election. It focused entirely on the local voting centre and published a slew of photos of the action as it took place. With its reporters on the ground, the readers got behind-the-scenes coverage of the electoral process.


International media

Die Presse

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This event from Austrian website, Die Presse (also created using the API) had an interactive approach to the election coverage. Beyond the reporting of facts and figures they encouraged readers comments and the coverage benefits from the discussions that take place beneath particular posts.


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ARTE took a different route for election day. Rather than simply report from the party conferences, it took to the streets to speak to citizens and get their opinions as the votes were coming through. It had two reporters roaming the streets of Berlin taking photos and interviewing locals—there was a fun element to the coverage and a light tone throughout. A special mention to the inventive use of Vine.


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As is to be expected, Reuters provided excellent analysis in their election coverage. Their reporters highlighted the historical context and insight into the logistics of the German political machine. The feed also greatly from the large quantity of high quality real-time videos that were published throughout the coverage. Interestingly, the journalists also revealed a little bit about how Reuters goes about producing their coverage, revealing that they had four photographers and three remote cameras in place at the CDU’s party conference, for example.


And finally…

We all know that the endless election trail can wear a little thin for readers sometimes and that’s why it’s not a bad idea to offer your readers a little light relief.


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In a move to dispel the stereotype of Germans having no sense of humour, CNN created a live event filled with the memes that have been emerging from the election. Steinbrück’s middle finger and Merkel’s ubiquitous hand gesture bore the brunt of the jokes.


Eins Live

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Eins Live event was published just after the finger incident (see above) and they also rounded up the best memes from around the web.

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