Community journalism, the local news coverage typically focused on neighbourhoods, suburbs and small towns, helps to address gaps in the mainstream media, providing increased diversity, greater depth and context to reporting in any particular area.
With the advancement of technologies such as virtual reality (VR), livestreaming capabilities, 8K video footage and 5G internet, it’s never been easier for local news organisations to get eyeballs on stories outside of the mainstream, national news agenda.
But the developments that have happened in mobile journalism specifically have ensured it’s not just journalists who get to tell stories any more – citizens can use the smartphones in their pockets to shoot, edit and publish content to thousands of viewers, without needing major broadcasting platforms.
Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, an initiative dedicated to training communities around the world in using mobile tools to tell their stories, believes this is the future of news, as he explained to delegates at last week’s Building the Future of Community Journalism conference in Cardiff.
“We don’t need a printing press or broadcast equipment anymore,” he said.
“If we have a powerful story to tell, nothing can stop it going viral – the traditional media no longer has a monopoly on information.
“We will see the movement evolve from communities producing shaky, hand-held footage to everybody being able to make content that is effectively as good as the broadcaster’s.”