“Journos Lost The Breaking News Game A Long Time Ago”: HashtagOurStories’ Yusuf Omar

“Journos Lost The Breaking News Game A Long Time Ago”: HashtagOurStories’ Yusuf Omar
SHARE
THIS



While attending the INFORM News Media Summit in Sydney yesterday, B&T pulled aside one of its speakers – Yusuf Omar, co-founder of HashtagOurStories and an ex-CNN social reporter – to talk all things mobile in the land of news media.

What are some of the latest trends you’re seeing involving news media companies and mobile engagement?

The first thing to appreciate is the big buzzword [or ‘buzzphrase’] at the moment, which is ‘pivot to video’, and specifically a pivot to video that is optimised for mobile devices. We’re finally seeing traditional news organisations explore formats as basic as vertical video, explainer stories, being able to sum up a video into a minute as opposed to a minute thirty or longer for television. They’re starting to appreciate the nuance that an Instagram story is not the same as a Facebook story or a Twitter or YouTube story – that each one has very specific audiences and ways of conceptualising those stories. I think that’s a shift playing out in media.

News organisations are also becoming more and more efficient at repurposing one piece of video for numerous platforms. I think the ability to do that efficiently with minimal resources largely influences the success or failure of your digital strategy.

Is there a standout social media platform for news organisations to use?

When we look at all the social media platforms, there aren’t actually that many. You have the Facebook juggernaut, which includes Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp; you have Google, which expresses itself through YouTube; you have Snapchat, which is a standalone entity; and then you have new, emerging social media apps coming out of Amazon and the likes.

News organisations can’t put all of your eggs in one basket – they need to diversify their social media as much as possible and be platform agnostic. If your business is based on the success of another business, it’s never a good position to be in. If Facebook changed their algorithms overnight, you’d suddenly have to jump in and re-adjust, but that’s the nature that we’ve got ourselves into. We have to play with Facebook – it is the biggest platform in the world, it has the biggest reach and audiences, and may soon offer the biggest monetisation potential. It’s about being nimble enough to respond to algorithmic changes and acknowledging that dotcom strategies are failing. We have to use this technology for what it’s good at, and Facebook is really good for distribution.

Yusuf Omar (INFORM News Media Summit) [2]

Yusuf Omar presenting at the INFORM News Media Summit yesterday in Sydney.

What are news media companies doing wrong when it comes to mobile engagement?

I think there are a few things that they could be doing better. We’re still exporting television formats and putting them online, and this is proven regularly not to succeed. I think they’re still thinking about engagement after they’ve done the story, but I think 50 per cent of the conversation before the story is produced needs to be about the engagement. The reporter should be telling their editor or producer which conversations are going to be sparked in the comments section and which Facebook groups are going to share the story. The onus should be put on the storyteller to build that relationship.

News organisations also need to better understand how to migrate audiences through social media. If they do a fantastic video on fly fishing, the next time they do another video on fly fishing, they can drop the link to it in the comments section of the first video, because they know they already have an audience that’s passionate about that subject matter and can easily migrate them.

I’m also seeing major news organisations trying to build mega social accounts with five or 10 million followers. We’re entering an age where the internet’s becoming smaller and they’re better off having 100 accounts with 1,000 followers each, and knowing specifically what those groups are interested in. That makes sense to marketers too, because then they can target. News organisations and brands need to be looking at social media on a far more granular level than trying to create these big accounts with massive followings that don’t mean anything anyway.

How do you rate Aussie news media organisations in terms of mobile engagement?

Australia is an island and isolated in every sense of the word, and that rings true to some of the media. I’ve seen some formats here online that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I think Aussie news organisations have their own style, and that traditional media houses like the ABC and Fairfax are navigating the same difficult journey that traditional media houses around the world are facing, but I think Australia will come out on top. Australian media houses have got cash that they can throw – they’re pivoting to digital not because they have to, but because they want to, and that’s a powerful position to be in.

I think here news organisations still have very loyal audiences on traditional platforms. You still have huge radio audiences in the rural areas, you still have people who are very loyal to newspapers. Australia is looking at the US and realising that it still has a couple of years to prepare, and hopefully they won’t make the same mistakes that other markets have.

Are there any other practical steps that Aussie news companies can take to future-proof their newsrooms for the digital age?

I think it’s about people and trust. I think they should be bringing in more young people who understand social media platforms to their boardroom meetings. There’s quite a bureaucracy in a lot of Australian news organisations, and you’ve got to sometimes have a bit of age behind you before making it to decision-making positions, when in reality, many of the people who have the best ideas in the room are not senior. We’ve reached the stage in journalism where being tech-savvy is just as valuable as being journalistically experienced. Today, you need technologists in your newsroom, and that’s why it’s important for news companies to surround themselves with Millennials who get it.

How do you see the role of a journalist changing over the next 10 years?

I think journalists lost the breaking news game a long time ago – 9/11 was the breaking point that where people with mobile phones were capturing the biggest stories of our time, not journalists with big cameras. I don’t think media should try to play the breaking news game either – it’s expensive, and it’s really boring. It should focus on commentary and analysis, and with so much video coming through from different social media platforms, it should focus on verification and authentication – making sense of what’s real and what’s not. That’s the value-add of news media in 2018 and beyond – the ability to be the voice of truth, but not try to be the sole arbitors of truth.

We have to acknowledge that social media has a huge place in the news cycle – we can’t keep writing it off as being non-sensical. In a time when we have fake news and media houses under such pressure to monetise, we see news media positioning itself as “we’re right, they’re wrong”. They need to work together. Social media needs journalists and editors to make sense of it, and editors and journalists need social media to find stories on the ground.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk

If B&T's Women in Media profiles were an animal they would be a gazelle or lioness, or even a lioness eating a gazelle.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop
  • Marketing

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop

Sadly, M&C Saatchi's 1440 is no more. And chances of it being reborn as 1550 not looking much chop either.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT

B&T's not sure what's with that twirly thing in the press photo, suffice to say a vortex to an alternate dimension?

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team
  • Media

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team

Independent media company Grant Broadcasters has announced a number of changes to its executive ranks. Grant Cameron will move up to become non-executive chairman for the company, and Alison Cameron (pictured above) – currently the chief operating officer – will assume the CEO role. Dugald Cameron remains responsible for the family’s investment portfolio and is […]

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities
  • Advertising
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities

Australian retail out-of-home (OOH) business Shopper Media Group (SMG) has announced a partnership with AI-powered wireless networks provider Mist. The partnership will see SMG offer new WiFi, analytics and location-based services across the company’s portfolio of Australian shopping centres. Mist currently provides WiFi and location services using virtual Bluetooth LE technology to businesses across all […]

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account
  • Advertising
  • Media

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account

Travel organisation Cruiseco has announced the appointment of Sydney independent agency This is Flow (TIF) to handle its $5 million media account. This is the first time Cruiseco has appointed an agency, having managed its communications internally. Cruiseco is the largest and broadest distributor of cruise products in the Southern Hemisphere. With a membership base […]

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd

Need a Monday morning pick-me-up? You could stand naked next to the office fridge or read these inspiring words.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract
  • Advertising
  • Media

APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract

Out-of-home media business APN Outdoor has won the tender for New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport. As part of the new agreement, APN Outdoor has flagged extensive development plans for Queenstown Airport’s advertising assets. The new contract adds Queenstown Airport to APN Outdoor’s existing portfolio of Auckland and Christchurch Airports. The media company will hire a South […]

Havas Secures Exclusive ‘Fight Of Champions’ Broadcast Rights With Foxtel For Australia & NZ
  • Media

Havas Secures Exclusive ‘Fight Of Champions’ Broadcast Rights With Foxtel For Australia & NZ

Havas Sports & Entertainment ANZ, a division of the broader global full-service agency Havas, has confirmed an exclusive deal with Foxtel to showcase the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight Championship across the trans-Tasman. Billed as the ‘Fight of Champions’, Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse will square off for the WBA Welterweight belt this Sunday. Havas […]

The Question On Everybody’s Lips At Cannes: How Did Tesco Win The Grand Prix Media Lion?
  • Media
  • Opinion

The Question On Everybody’s Lips At Cannes: How Did Tesco Win The Grand Prix Media Lion?

In this guest post, PHD’s Chloe Hooper (pictured below) analyses the campaign that claimed top honours in the Media category at Cannes this year. I sat in the auditorium as the Cannes Media Lion winners for 2018 were awarded. One thing became instantly clear to me: it is all about taking home Gold or the Grand Prix. […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MINI Australia Showcases New ‘Connected’ Vehicles Via Vizeum & Posterscope
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

MINI Australia Showcases New ‘Connected’ Vehicles Via Vizeum & Posterscope

An integrated campaign by Vizeum Melbourne for MINI Australia’s new ‘Connected’ vehicles will see digital out-of-home (DOOH) served via Posterscope’s Liveposter platform. Delivered centrally, the campaign will showcase the flexible qualities DOOH provides via multiple creatives targeted with specific data overlays such as location, traffic, time of day, and weather triggers such as rain. The […]

Women In Media Profile: Lisa Sheehan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Lisa Sheehan

The delightful Lisa Sheehan straps into B&T's "cage of truth" we actually prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp, Storyful & Fox Sports Join Forces To Support AIME Hoodie Day
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Media

News Corp, Storyful & Fox Sports Join Forces To Support AIME Hoodie Day

News Corp Australia, Storyful and Fox Sports have joined forces in support of 2018 AIME Hoodie Day with a creative advertising, PR, social media and editorial campaign across print, digital, and broadcast media. Fox League presenter Hannah Hollis (pictured above) fronts the AIME Hoodie Day campaign, conceptualised, designed and created by News Corp’s trade marketing […]

Storyation Finalist For Global Content Marketing Agency Of The Year
  • Marketing

Storyation Finalist For Global Content Marketing Agency Of The Year

Sydney content marketing agency Storyation has been named a finalist for global Content Marketing Agency of the Year in the Content Marketing Association Awards in the US.  The only Australian agency on the short-list, Storyation was founded by two former Fairfax Media executives Lauren Quaintance (right in photo) and Mimi Cullen (left) and its clients include Tourism […]

Jaden Social Claims Integrated Marketing Tender For NSW Schools Spectacular
  • Marketing

Jaden Social Claims Integrated Marketing Tender For NSW Schools Spectacular

Jaden Social has been awarded the tender to handle integrated marketing for the NSW Schools Spectacular. The agreement will see Jaden Social manage marketing, media, digital and social across the 2018 to 2020 productions of Schools Spectacular, held at Qudos Bank Arena in November. Jaden Social underwent a competitive pitch to secure the account, in […]

APD Australia Appoints New Head Of Digital Product & Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Technology

APD Australia Appoints New Head Of Digital Product & Strategy

Digital transformation business APD has announced the appointment of Chris Butterworth as its Australian head of digital product and strategy. Based in Melbourne, Butterworth (pictured above) will be responsible for building on APD’s owned media team, growing its range of services and developing cross-channel products. Butterworth joins APD from Reprise Digital, where he was most […]