Text by Anna Valmero, Philippines and Dobriyana Tropankeva, Bulgaria/UK
Photos by Gabriel, d’Alincourt, Brazil/Germany

We can use social media to create meaningful content.

Carrying a camera hooked to a glass bottle and wearing a smart glass fitted with video recorder, CNN’s senior social producer Yusuf Omar enters the plenary of the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2017 to share how he became a mobile journalist or #mojo.

Talking from experience, he used social media platforms to broadcast what he is seeing on the ground – the stories of people he met across war-torn Syria and marginalized groups such as Indian rape survivors often left behind in major news stories as he hitchhiked across countries armed with his smartphone and a thirst for knowing what is happening and sharing it to others.

The beauty of social media lies in the platform’s unique ability to integrate many layers of information and its aspect of enabling people to share content and their own reactions or comments in real-time.

“I see social media as a black canvas to develop [a story] more,” said Omar,” through a unique combination of video, text, geolocation and other elements, for example. These details can help direct media to new stories on the ground, authenticate information with extra details and involve the audience to help tell the story using user-generated content.

“Let’s use social media to transcend broadcasting. Now is the best time to empower communities with the creation of verified content,” said Omar.

On this, University of Winnipeg associate professor Jason Hannan urged schools to implement social media literacy programs in order to better understand the ways on how to use it more effectively as a journalism tool.

7 tips to become a mobile journalist #mojo

1. Remove the Z’s in your workflow

Often, a story undergoes several steps before it gets published and this means involving several persons and different teams. But thinking outside the box such as having news policies that vary depending on the story content or not frowning upon shaky videos of a warzone from a handheld smartphone are possible ways on how to treat new content generated using social media tools.

2. Survey the newsroom for devices and apps

Ask first: What are the apps and devices that can better serve the team? Weigh in the pros and cons of using a smartphone versus a traditional bulky camera, for example.

3. Cut the fat: choose the best format

Identify the formats that will work best with engaging your audience and develop ways on how to work better. The same goes with identifying devices that are effective for creating content that you want.

4. Gamify the newsroom and give rewards

Provide incentives to journalists who can produce fact-based, quality and engaging content with gear and access to new platforms.

5. Build a priority pyramid

Identify the stories you want to focus on and build content from there.

6. Change the format

Social media is not TV so don’t treat it like one. Understand what works with the audience and experiment with different formats like vertical shots or shorter 10-second video reports.

7. Pick a mobile journalism day

Choose a day (Mobile Journalism Monday is one) to train everyone in the newsroom and equip them with skills so they can cover on the ground when a big story happens.

 

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