Yusuf Omar or how millennial journalism is here to remain

“The biggest stories of our time are made thanks to people that were on the ground with their mobile phones”, says Hashtag our stories co-founder

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are seen by some journalists as a threat for truth and for their jobs. Others are preferring to use several tools that social media offers to tell stories and create communities not around themselves, like an influencer, but around real stories that are affecting people.
With a mobile phone, a big screen, two laptops and dark glasses with a camera turned on, is another day in the office for Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag our story, a mobile journalism initiative that has reached 27 countries, where he also teaches people without a voice in mainstream media how to tell stories from their phones to make changes in society.
“Good journalism is made from variety,” he says, and he proofs it in his speech 14 tips to build mobile storytelling in Perugia, at the 12th edition of the International Journalism Festival.
In his experiences in countries like South Africa or India, Mr. Omar has helped people to make their governments listen to them denouncing big social problems through Instagram stories, he also taught some students how to snapchat to let them talk about youth problems in their community and he gave voice to a group of girls with almost no freedom caused by how is religion applied in their town.
Not everything is about likes or views itself, but “this generation knows the impact of social media. The difference is the conversation generated there,” he affirms after accepting that some people may disagree with him about if mobile journalism is real journalism.
That is why Mr. Omar also promotes the idea of making citizens not only the first storytellers, but also the first fact-checkers: “Internet has no space for control freaks.” For him, social media with all its formats must be for social good and is a way of storytelling democratization.
“It hasn’t changed everything in the news world, but we are approaching a perfect storm.”

Cuevas José Manuel