Interview with Antoine Laurent, expert in fact-checking, data journalism, mobile journalism (MoJo) and the organisation of hackathons in newsrooms. Antoine provides NWE Academy with a first series of key training courses to accelerate innovation and transformation of the media.
Mobile will have profoundly changed journalists’ practices in terms of content production, storytelling and delivery. What are your tips on how to best integrate mobile into one’s journalistic practice?
The revolution of the smartphone, social networks and digital platforms began 15 years ago. The first iPhone was released on 29 June 2007! What was initially a niche area of experimentation has become the norm, one of the main places for consuming information. It is therefore essential to think about digital and mobile consumption, at all stages of journalistic production.
This of course requires a high-performance mobile application for a media outlet, but also the implementation of new formats, which will generally complement traditional articles, to ensure better dissemination on digital platforms: short text or summary formats for social networks, live videos from the newsroom or the field, open source investigation, animations, stories, etc.
What should we look out for in MoJo?
Mobile video journalism is a small revolution that allows any media to produce quality images from the field. However, without a strategy, an appropriate editorial format and a well-organised production process, MoJo can be counterproductive. Mojo should not be embraced at all costs, but rather specific formats should be developed, adapted to the editorial line and the audience.
In some cases, MoJo may not be the best option! Studio or motion design formats should also be considered. For the field, the MoJo is king, but you have to think about it: immersive live, mobile set, reportage, the options are numerous.
From now on, it is no longer enough to produce the best content, the organisation must also know how to promote it effectively. What place should Stories have? How should the work of community managers evolve?
Social media platforms are indeed very interesting, and even indispensable, for promoting journalistic content. However, they should not be seen solely in this role of “loudspeaker”, as they are also very interesting for imagining new formats, new narratives that can particularly resonate with communities. To make the most of the potential of social networks, the role of the community manager is evolving to become that of a true “digital strategist”: he or she knows the communities, the specificities of the platforms and is able to design and produce the appropriate formats.
The “stories” can be simple relays of articles and videos, but also well-produced dedicated formats, if one wishes to develop a certain platform.
Is data journalism reserved for a certain type of subject, content or for the most geeky journalists?
On the contrary, data journalism is interesting for all journalists, for all types of subjects. The important thing is to know some of the basics, to be able to produce simple visualisations, analyse data and know when to call in an expert for more complex productions.
Journalists have constantly enriched their practices to innovate, vary the modes of narration, be more attentive to their audiences… Are multidisciplinary teams the future of journalism?
All broadcast media call on production teams: radio and television of course, but also paper, with SRs, editors, layout artists and digital is no exception. Now that the digital and mobile ecosystem is relatively mature, we know better how to organise production. This involves collaboration between journalists, graphic designers and developers, which must be orchestrated by a project/product manager journalist who is able to dialogue with the experts.
For a long time, communication was very difficult between journalists and digital specialists. By setting up modern digital production teams, a media organisation can know which digital projects to launch, when, how and, above all, why! Should they invest in MoJo, post production and stories, data journalism or set up a fact-checking or online investigation team? It is now up to digital product managers to design and lead these projects, in collaboration with journalists, graphic designers and developers!