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iNews empowers young reporters with smartphone video journalism

iNews, a leading Indonesian broadcaster with 24 local networks, delivers news, talk shows, magazines, and sports programs nationwide.

The Challenge

iNews wanted to improve the quality of its digital video content. It saw an opportunity to host training sessions then run a competition to encourage young reporters in Indonesia to cover, produce, and publish video news stories using smartphones.

The Solution

iNews ran training sessions and the competition, then selected winners. The whole process was documented and iNews created a reality show about it.

Setting up the competition: To announce the competition, iNews published articles on web portals, and created posters and social media promotion banners. It made a jingle and video commercial, which were aired on TV and uploaded to YouTube. Participants were invited to register through a website.

Designing training modules: Concurrently, the internal iNews team created a series of coaching clinics that they offered to all applicants. These covered the three main issues of mobile journalism — script writing and stand-up reporting, filming and visual storytelling, and graphics and video editing.

Running the training sessions: The team organized two-day coaching clinics in 10 major cities. iNews sent three coaches to each city and they guided attendees through the process of creating video news stories on smartphones, from inception all the way to delivery. Over 400 people attended. At the end of the training, each attendee was invited to present a short video story to a panel of external and internal judges. From these, competition participants were selected.

Running the competition: The 100 people invited to participate in the competition were given a smartphone, as well as additional training and mentorship. After seven days, each competitor produced one news story. iNews hosted a large awards night, which was broadcast on YouTube, where judges looked at the young reporters' mobile storytelling skills as well as the potential for the video news story to prompt public debate and drive positive change in society. Twelve semi-finalists and three winners were selected.

Documenting the experience: Throughout the competition, production teams captured footage of 30 participants producing their news stories, which became a 12 x 30 minute reality show called ”Inside Mojoc“. The show was hosted by a well-known presenter and broadcast every Saturday and Sunday at 3:30pm on the iNews YouTube and TV channels.

iNews trained hundreds of up-and-coming reporters across Indonesia and facilitated a mobile journalism competition, which was such a success that the team are considering running it again.

- Trained 426 young journalists in 10 cities across Indonesia.

- Uncovered ways to reduce overall production costs for the iNews video channel by leaning into smartphone reporting (as opposed to TV).

Video editing is a valuable skill for young reporters: iNews took a poll from the competition participants to uncover which aspects of the experience they found most useful. A significant 72% said that video editing and pre-shoot preparation (e.g., research, time management, etc.) were the most valuable skills they learned. This was compared to 13% who said on-camera correspondent reporting, 11% who said story development, and 4% who said filming techniques. This could indicate that young reporters are comfortable using smartphones as video storytelling devices, but they want training in how to package news content for publication.

Mobile journalists need diverse training: Reporters working with smartphones benefit from having a wide range of skills so they can create a story from start to finish — everything from idea generation, filming, on-camera reporting, editing, etc. iNews found that most reporters (especially traditional TV reporters, but even young journalists, too) do not have all of these skills and can benefit from in-depth training.

Mobile reporting helps underrepresented people and topics find a voice: The iNews project helped young journalists tell stories and express opinions that hadn't been told before by previous generations. Digital video reporting via smartphones was the perfect way to do this because it's cheaper than traditional TV, so topics that sit outside the mainstream can more easily find a voice and a platform.

young journalists trained in 10 cities across Indonesia.
young journalists trained in 10 cities across Indonesia.
There are lots of young journalists who are eager to learn and ready to contribute as mobile journalists, and smartphones are a powerful tool to help them cover and publish news stories.
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