Showcasing innovative social media production for youth audiences

In a bid to reach younger audiences with compelling and innovatively told public interest journalism, IMS has started a new database of social media best practice in partnership with Hashtag Our Stories. Join us in adding examples.

IMS’ mission is to ensure audiences have access to high-quality, gender-sensitive and inclusive content to make informed decisions. We wanted to explore how to do serious and robust journalism in ways that push boundaries and embrace new channels.

In order to shine a light on excellent work by practitioners in the Global South, in hard to reach or marginalised communities, we have created an openly accessible database of best practice.

The partnership is intended to combine the expertise of a human rights development organisation to engage young people with hard news content with high degrees of cultural sensitivity from conflict-torn communities. The partnership also harnesses the knowledge and expertise of leading social media content producers.

Reaching a younger demographic has long been a challenge for traditional media searching for innovative storytelling forms that make sense to young people in the social media world of clickable and ephemeral formats. Hashtag Our Stories has empowered more than 10,000 people in 140 countries to make videos with phones and wearable cameras. In response to the challenge of reaching young people, IMS and Hashtag Our Stories have teamed up to put the hashtag into hard news by exploring what new challenges and opportunities arise at the intersection of flashy social media and the authenticity of conflict sensitive journalism. We will discuss this project together as part of the International Festival of Journalism in Perugia, Italy, on 9 April.

For example, Hashtag Our Stories gets around taboo and challenging topics by encouraging alternative voices to innovatively tell stories through interactive video and by using comic book drawings for community storytelling.

The interactive database provides examples of best practice from similar social media ventures, such as Girlzoffmute, Khateera, Sujab, Rozana FM, Inkyfada, and more.

This openly searchable database will be a tool for journalists and media who want to explore examples by format, platform, language or country of best practices for reaching younger audiences in order to provide them with quality hard-hitting journalism that hasn’t been compromised.

The database contains 42 examples from around the world, and IMS openly encourages local custodian approach to populating the database and to challenge our thinking on criteria for inclusion. Suggestions for additions to the database can be recommended here.

The database will be complemented by capacity building workshops that have been scheduled for May. IMS partners, and others attending the workshop, will showcase how they have told their stories and how they have used different platforms and achieved successful outputs with high impact. Workshop participants will deconstruct their stories from idea through production with discussion of the media organisation’s interaction and engagement with audiences.

An online course is also available explaining how to use the database, how to build a successful social media play, how to create an active community of young storytellers and how to prepare for future technology.

For more information contact Clare Cook, senior media adviser: