MECHELEN - ‘Wablieft’ (Flemish interjection meaning ‘Excuse me?’) is a newspaper that has been providing clear news for low-literate adults in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) for more than thirty years. Next to a weekly newspaper it also publishes ‘Wablieft Start’, a biweekly news magazine in even simpler Dutch.

Supported by the Flemish Journalism Fund, Journalismfund.eu’s innovation booster, Wablieft has now developed an online outlet for its news products.

The Wablieft newspapers are read by a very wide audience: from low-literate adults and newcomers to the elderly and people with disabilities. In short, everyone for whom other media in Flanders are too difficult.

Until now there was no online news channel with quality news for adults with a lower language proficiency. Very often that target group had to rely on news websites for children or young people. In terms of content, however, that news does not tie in with their environment, interests or needs.

That is why Wablieft developed a digital Wablieft and Wablieft Start newspaper. The online Wablieft responds to a lack in the current range of online journalism, increases media pluralism in Flanders, and brings more people into contact with quality news.

Wablieft was able to use its specific expertise in the development of the website. Low-literate people often have difficulty with a digital environment, because most websites don’t take into account not only their language level, but neither their limitations and needs in terms of design and functionalities. The platform was therefore tested with different user groups, aimed at maximum clarity and optimised user experience.

Publication rhythm and subscription fees

Wablieft also had to review its editorial process. New articles will appear on the website every weekday, while it used to publish on a weekly basis.

The online newspaper works with a soft paywall: part of the articles can be freely read by everyone, a part is only accessible to subscribers.

Subscribers to the print Wablieft or Wablieft Start get full online access. For Belgian users, it is currently not possible to subscribe only to the digital newspaper. People outside Belgium can, however, for 34 euro per year.

A grant of €32.400 allotted in 2018.

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