“My remit, as a journalist for the BBC, is to reach new and underserved audiences”

interviews

“My remit, as a journalist for the BBC, is to reach new and underserved audiences”

“My remit, as a journalist for the BBC, is to reach new and underserved audiences”

Interview conducted by Alexandra Klinnik - Published on 2 May 2020
0

The BBC World Service is innovating. The English-language channel released its first Instagram documentary, part of a new push to attract and engage younger audiences. The 10-minute vertical video, titled The Instagram witches of Brooklyn, takes us on a journey through the spiritual movement of "brujeria" (an Afro-Latina term meaning witchcraft) that has gained additional visibility thanks to Instagram. BBC director and journalist Sophia Smith Galer discusses the appeal of the platform. With a big following on TikTok (78,000 subscribers), she also tells us about the growing importance of the Chinese app in disseminating information.

Where did the idea for a documentary adapted to Instagram for the BBC come from? What was your objective?

Sophia Smith Galer – My remit as a journalist for the BBC is to reach new and underserved audiences – Instagram is a brilliant vehicle for us to put out stories that engage with younger demographics. This is, of course, in addition to the fact that the documentary itself was also about how these women use Instagram
 
The Instagram witches of Brooklyn
The Instagram witches of Brooklyn

What feedback have you had? What are the advantages of Instagram for this type of content? Since it went online on April 1, the report has been viewed more than 10,000 times...

S.S.G. – Given the bruja community is very active on Instagram, I knew that it would be guaranteed healthy engagement from the audience, many of whom have never seen themselves or their religious practices reflected back to them in mainstream media. It was very successful for us in terms of our usual IGTV figures and I was particularly impressed by the number of users who saved the video to their collections or sent it privately to a friend. These are hidden interactions which, as a film-maker, are the most important analytics to measure – they really show that the film had enough impact to make lots of people want to share it with their private circles. 

You said in one of your interviews, "the gatekeeper of mainstream media tend to keep online videos quite secular." What did you mean by that?

S.S.G. – It has traditionally been quite difficult for religion reporters, particularly in the British media space which is very secular, to convince editors of the relevance and importance of religion stories. Fortunately, I work somewhere that has a specific remit to cater for diverse religious communities. 

Are there any sources of inspiration influencing your videos on Instagram? What are your tips for creating an effective video for social networks such as Instagram?

S.S.G. – A big inspiration for me is Olivia le Poidevin, an excellent digital film-maker for BBC Minute, another BBC World Service Instagram account that makes brilliant content for young audiences.
BBC Minute
BBC Minute
I also really like the films that the BBC Gender and Identity correspondent Megha Mohan makes with Yousef Eldin – they bring in YouTubey elements without losing BBC house style or authority and that's exactly the sort of style I want to mirror. 

My advice is for it to be well-paced, hashtag-sourced and unafraid to play with user-generated content.  

Do you think there has been a change in the way people are consuming the news, since the lockdown?

S.S.G. – Ironically lots of audiences are going back to linear broadcasting, which has seen a decline in the last decade. 

Speaking of digital storytelling and young audiences, you are also a celebrity on TikTok. Your @sophiasmithgaler account is followed by nearly 78,000 subscribers. At the moment, the BBC has no official account. What is your vision on the platform, as a journalist? 

S.S.G. – Lots of news publishers are discovering that there is an appetite for informed and inspirational content. But lots of TikTokkers are reluctant to see brands instead of people come onto the platform – if TikTok loves one thing, it's a personality. That's why The Washington Post has had so much success with Dave. A TikTok brand without a face is going to be limited in how recognisable its content is and the possible following it could amass. In a personal capacity, my behind-the-scenes content on journalism does well and I get DMs every day from young people who want to enter the industry. It's life-affirming to see young people want to become journalists (I'm 25 so it wasn't that long ago I was one of them myself) and if my TikToks can get more people interested, then that for me is only a good thing. 
On the same subjects

Le Monde newspaper has turned to TikTok: and it works!

"The news in a basic, simple form, and with music". Since 15 June 2020, Le Monde newspaper has been active on TikTok, the most downloaded application of 2019,...

"The news in a basic, simple form, and with music". Since 15 June 2020, Le Monde newspaper has been active on TikTok, the most downloaded application of 2019, with informative and fun videos. It's a channel that is being used to reach a new audience, Generation Z, who often don't know this venerable daily newspaper.

“Print is a niche medium for older people. Like Twitch or TikTok, but for retirees”

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its annual Digital News Report and the good news is that 44% of respondents believe they trust the media,...

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its annual Digital News Report and the good news is that 44% of respondents believe they trust the media, six points more than last year. Based on a panel of 46 countries, the 164-page study examines the relationship between the media and consumers. We discussed the main points of the Digital News Report with two of the study's authors: Rasmus Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute and Nic Newman, Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute.

“People are just really exhausted by Twitter and so Discord offers a slightly more intimate way to socialize online”

According to Forbes, it's "the most original media experience of the year." Led by Casey Newton, eight freelance tech journalists have launched their own virtual newsroom on Discord...

According to Forbes, it's "the most original media experience of the year." Led by Casey Newton, eight freelance tech journalists have launched their own virtual newsroom on Discord, an audio-based platform popular with gamers, whose use has diversified with the pandemic. Entitled Sidechannel, the Discord server is an embryonic newsroom. On the app, subscribers can chat with each other, attend live exclusive interviews. This improved Slack was launched in parallel with the paid newsletters of each of the creators. Ryan Broderick, a journalist specializing in web culture and the head of Sidechannel, talks to us about the origin of the project.

Where has all the creativity in B2B gone?

Why is B2B marketing so flat and lacking in creativity? That was the question we asked Jon Lombardo, Global Lead at the LinkedIn B2B Institute. We chatted about how to resuscitate...

Why is B2B marketing so flat and lacking in creativity? That was the question we asked Jon Lombardo, Global Lead at the LinkedIn B2B Institute. We chatted about how to resuscitate B2B marketing, how to put creativity back into the heart of content, which brands are succeeding and why it's so important not to fear failure.

Women who are defying time, on LeMonde.fr

In 2012, for the release of the "Forever Youth Liberator" anti-aging skin care line, the Saint Laurent Paris brand wanted to develop an original media platform around the fight...

In 2012, for the release of the "Forever Youth Liberator" anti-aging skin care line, the Saint Laurent Paris brand wanted to develop an original media platform around the fight against time.

An elegant touch, with Cartier

Two platforms dedicated to elegance for the release of the "Clé de Cartier" watch, illustrated by Florence Brossard.

Two platforms dedicated to elegance for the release of the "Clé de Cartier" watch, illustrated by Florence Brossard.

“The audience is seeing the evidence for themselves”

Every single one of their investigations is a sensation. The New York Times' Visual Investigations team specializes in fact-checking using open source data available on the Web...

Every single one of their investigations is a sensation. The New York Times' Visual Investigations team specializes in fact-checking using open source data available on the Web. Created in 2017, the team has already won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020. Malachy Brown, Senior Producer of Visual Investigations at the NYT, gave Story Jungle a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how their investigations are put together and some good advice for anyone keen to get into visual investigations themselves.

“Amid the current situation, it’s about adopting a humble communication style”

How do you communicate amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic when you're a large multinational such as Renault? What impact has the crisis had on the communications approach?...

How do you communicate amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic when you're a large multinational such as Renault? What impact has the crisis had on the communications approach? What channels do you favour to connect with a young audience that wants "snackable content"? These are the questions we asked Emmanuel Guinot, Head of Campaigns, Content

“Content quality will be a distinguishing factor in the long term”

Today, 37% of B2B decision-makers have already bought a product or service after finding out about it through content on social media. In three out of four cases,...

Today, 37% of B2B decision-makers have already bought a product or service after finding out about it through content on social media. In three out of four cases, the person wasn't in contact with the company before seeing the content. This is just one of the findings of the third edition of the Social Selling Barometer published in July. The study, which involved surveying 650 B2B professionals in France between February and March 2020, was carried out by La Poste Solutions Business and the agency Intuiti's UserLab. Story Jungle discussed social selling in the digital era with one of the Barometer's contributors: Franck Chenet of Antalis.

“Sharing informative content is a first step”

Brands have been positioning themselves behind the Black Lives Matter movement for days now. Many of them participated in "Blackout Tuesday" by blacking out their social media...

Brands have been positioning themselves behind the Black Lives Matter movement for days now. Many of them participated in "Blackout Tuesday" by blacking out their social media account pages with black squares in a sign of solidarity with the protesters. Sincerity or opportunism? Stéphanie Laporte, Director of social media agency OTTA, shares her views.

close
{POPUP_CONTENT}