The role of Online Journalism for the 20 Minutes and how it uses Facebook and Twitter.

As the German version of the website  became a reference and became one of the most consulted and well-known websites in Switzerland, I wanted to know whether the same would occur  in the French part of the country. The aim of this article is thus to analyse the French version of the news website and to explain how the journalists use social media (Facebook and Twitter) to promote articles.

20 Minutes Online is an information platform. It is probably one of the most effective, efficient and powerful portals of news in Switzerland. It covers three parts of Switzerland according to the languages (20 Minuten for German, 20 Minuti for Italian and 20 Minutes for French). In this article, I will focus only on the French version, which was created on the 8th of March 2006.

The success of 20 Minutes Online is mostly due to the speed with which news is added. There were 1’035’000 articles written for the sole month of February ; this illustrates how the website is constantly increasing. Each section possess a Facebook and/or a Twitter account on which it shares almost instantaneously posts with the link to the relevant article. All the posts are linked to the website Is the activity of sharing news on social medias a good way to reach a wide range of readers and redirect them to the initial platform 20 Minutes ?

The opinion of the expert

Mathieu Coutaz is the « head » of the site. He explains that only most relevant news is posted on Twitter and Facebook ; it represents between 5% and 10% of the overall production. Some sections are more active than others on social media : « News, Sports and People are the rubrics which post the most. The reason is that we are first a news website and therefore we are making a lot of news articles », confirms Mathieu Coutaz. Of course, the idea to share content on social media brings new readers. « Sharing news is for the 20 Minutes both appreciated and practical. 4% of our traffic comes from Facebook and less than 0,1% from Twitter. Google remains the most important marketing online tool », concludes the person in charge of the website.


By observing the different Facebook and Twitter accouts,  it’s easy to determine that the news item is the most active. Being an online webiste which brings news means to be the first to tell a story or relate an event.

On Facebook, 9 sections possess an account (News, Cinema, Football, Hockey, Sports, Festivals & Music, Insolite, Hitech and People). Twitter is a little bit less popular with only 7 items (Buzz, HiTech, Music, News, People, Sports, Gamezone).

To poursuive , each section manages its own page on the social media. Hereunder are two examples coming from the People page and Online page :

The organisation of the Facebook and Twitter accounts permit people to react or to share posts.


I questioned 30 people about their consumption of the news from the 20 Minutes via Facebook or Twitter. For this survey I used Facebook in order to distribue the survey’s link.

The results show that people who live in Romandie are not fond of information. 45% admit they don’t follow the news, 21% say they follw information on Facebook only and 21 % on Twitter. Only 14% admit they follow news on both social media. To conclude, people are not yet used to follow news on the Internet, but nowadays a lot of website become more and more active on social media to promote, share and comment on news.


Regarding the « semestrial report » of Tamedia dated June 2012, the website 20Minutes Online is the number one with 3’673 thousand unique clients per month. How long will it keep this so conveted first place ? Are newspapers online associated with social media the future of Journalism ? Nowadays all newspapers have an Online version. They publish first little articles on the web and the next day on the print version. Newsweek was the latest example. This american magazine-newspaper will publish its last printed version on the 31th December 2012 and after will exist only in digital format. For sure, social media will play an important role in sharing and recommending news and articles.

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  1. #1 by tantine on November 25, 2012 - 15:08

    I find these analysis very well organized, short and clear! excellent job

  2. #2 by moskito on November 25, 2012 - 15:12

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