Engaging young people with fact-checked journalism covering hard news of relevance to marginalised and conflict-torn communities is a core mission for media development organisations and the media partners they support. Doing so means ensuring independent journalism producers are not divorced from modes of production and diffusion that enable them to reach and engage audiences in new professional ways. Rather they must find innovative storytelling forms that make sense to young people in the world of social clickable and ephemeral formats.

Here two leading organisations show how they have worked together to put the #hashtag into hard news by finding harmony between social media and the authenticity of conflict sensitive journalism for marginalised and fragile communities. We showcase how to use social and youth engagement to get around taboo and challenging topics with innovations in interactivity, video formats and comic books drawing on community storytelling, alternative voices, rural communities and explainers. It includes the launch of an interactive global database with example best practice from Girlzoffmute, Outriders, Khateera, Sujab, Bhekisisa, The Quint and more.

We also highlight a process of reconciliation between a central dichotomy: a tension in needing to reach young audiences where they are, but knowing such platform logics erode independence and levels of control.