'Lessons in visual journalism from Paraguay's El Surtidor' | RISJ seminar with Jazmín Acuña, co-founder and director of El Surtidor
11:30AM May 18, 2022
Hello, and welcome to the global journalism seminar series at the Reuters Institute for the Study of journalism. I'm Meera Selva, and today we're joined by husband Konya, editorial director of Paraguay's award winning visual journalism outfit El Salvador. We believe here in creating a global knowledge sharing network where knowledge sharing goes in all directions. And trust me, there's a huge amount we can all learn from Hussman, a graduate of Connecticut College and a Jojen scholar who co founded in 36 years ago, as a way to tell journalistic stories to young audiences on mobile phones. Their mission is to provide accurate challenging and beautifully visualized information that empowers the audience with to connect with others and to take action has been thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you, Mira. It's a real pleasure for me to be here to have the opportunity to share what we're doing in Poway with visual journalism.
Thank you. You have to start by just telling us how. How did absurdly come about? What was your thinking behind it?
Yeah, well, it's 30. It's the short name for as a dealer, which is our original name and people like people like to call us and sort of the acolyte follows or ourselves authority. To start with, and we're a digital news media outlet. We're located in Athens Yun, the capital of Poway are right in the center of South America. And like you mentioned, this is our sixth year publishing and promoting visual journalism, which we like to think of as the combination of quality reporting with striking compelling images and graphics that are inspired from pop culture, the entertainment industry, graphic novels, comics, memes and so on. And we pack all of these are texts and images on something so simple as JPG files. Those are minimum units of publication. We do more than that, but those are our basic or fundamentals. When it comes to publishing and they're very easy to read. They're they're very easy to share on social media. We're gonna show people, some of them in a minute. We are a newsroom that assembles reporters, designers, illustrators, our goal is to inform young audiences from higher ROI that we believe traditional mass media don't pay much attention to. And now what we want is to give them information that they can use to mobilize for social change. So that's the reason why we focus our coverage on the issues that that affect their lives. Like the climate crisis, gender relations, power inequality, and disinformation. How did we start so we launched a SUTI in 2016, with two other colleagues who are graphic designers, that explains a lot why we look the way we look the three of us were very frustrated with the effects of rampant social inequality in Paraguay, which is an issue that is deeply rooted in the distribution of land something that happens all over Latin America, but land in Paraguay is one of our most valuable resources. Were a landlocked country and we are world known for the export of food. But only a few wealthy specially cattle and soy farmers own most of the land, which leads a large majority of small farmers which we call campesinos behind. So this inequality also extends to our media landscape, land owning elite Elite, they influence and they also own most media news organizations. So within this context, we also saw an opportunity in the growth of digital media in order to get over the issue of media capture by private and land owning leads. And we also saw an opportunity to speak directly to power wise largest population which are very very young young people right. And but of course, we had a challenge like like most media, how do we get their attention? That's something that we wonder why will they listen to us? Why will they read to our to our information? So our answer to that challenge was to produce spatial journalism. And then we had another challenge, the quality of of internet connection in Poway? Well, Internet access is improving. We knew that most Paraguayans access the internet via mobile phones. So we made sure to adapt all of our content for mobile and social media, where we know that young people engage right and well mobile data cost and bandwidth low bandwidth. Also limit access. So despite the growing trend of recording with video and live streaming, we chose a format that's a bit less data heavy, the JPEG file. So I want to show you some of the work that we have done I'm going to share some slides if that's okay. Absolutely. Go ahead. Okay. That's one second.
Can you see properly it's
the half of it. It's not fully on screen. But let me
Let me maximize.
Yeah, it's not full. Now that was the second slide was we could see the slide was fine. Yeah, the rest of fine. It was just the title.
Right. So that's the newsroom. We have grown larger. This is a picture it is already two years old. I think we need to update our pictures. This was our first publication in 2016. And this is some of the work that we have done so far. Yeah.
And tell us a little bit how audiences have responded to your work. Have you up to
yeah, um, we quickly develop strong, loyal base of followers, especially in Poway, right. They were drawn to our sort of different and novel approach to storytelling to new storytelling. And, and also, we were not only an independent news outlet with a fresher with a visually compelling look, covering issues that affect young people. We also were different in the sense that we involve audience members as collaborators along the way. We made sure to provide our audience members ways of participating and something that's quite unusual, locally. That's something very unusual for unusual for audiences, for news audiences in the country. So So yeah, and we keep growing our that, that loyal base of followers so far.
Thank you. That's really interesting. And you spoke a great deal about the kind of format and the distribution model, and I'd really like to talk a little bit more about the actual storytelling behind it that's embedded in your work do you have firstly, do you have a special way of working in commissioning? How do you decide what you report on?
Yeah, so I can tell a bit, a bit more about the story of how we publish our minimum units of information are jpg files. We publish a visual story daily. One graphic takes roughly two days or three days to produce it depends on the story, and the whole team collaborates that we are a team of 15 like a net like I mentioned, we have editors, reporters, designers, illustrators. We have someone in charge of product we have we have someone in charge of social media, and we meet on Mondays and Thursdays to plan ahead what we're going to publish and the production flow. And reporters you have to know work very, very closely with the designers and the illustrators, our designers and illustrators attend all of our meetings. They discuss with us the themes and the topics that we're going to cover. Also, sometimes we discuss at the editorial meetings, what kind of images we're going to use, and yeah, and once a topic is chosen. The next step is to produce the story the written text, and journalists write the story as a series of texts segments that help the team visualize it as a JPEG file. The content then goes to the designers and illustrators who work with journalism, and myself to brainstorm the best images that can pair with the story. And they look also for pieces of the text which can be cut out and replaced with illustrations, we try to find the right balance between text and images. Then a rough a rough sketch is produced for the graphic designers to create a digital version of it of the of the work. Then again, that goes to editing and then it goes on on on social media and our website when it's needed. So that's roughly our process or daily process. And what you're seeing right now on the screen are the steps that all projects that we embark on, at OSU T those are the steps that we go through. We listen to context we listen to what the audience needs. We explore ways of, of telling the story, what are the best ways to tell a story then we design we prototype solutions, we edit, publish, and then we're very careful to learn what has worked, what hasn't and in every step of the way we evaluate and decide collectively,
I want to take that graphic and put it on the wall of pretty much every newsroom I encounter anywhere in the world. Absolutely, brilliantly again, beautifully visual visualized. Design design. So thank you. Let's talk a little bit about some individual projects. So I really want to kind of delve down into this idea of what works and what has, you know what you've learned from all of these. So can you can you start Can you talk about some projects that you're particularly proud of?
Yeah, I want to go over front for projects and I'm gonna start with last data relevant charcoal, which can be reflected and translated to the outcast from El Chapo. This was an illustrated series with four stories about the Chaco region, which is one of the most diverse ecosystems in South America it's.
think we've lost Yes. Has been for a moment which is wait to see if Lee comes back.
Think this is one of the perils of doing a global journalism seminar and getting people to be men from all around the world that the internet connection has sometimes break so we'll just give him in a few moments to to come back. And in the meantime, if you do have any questions please do put them in the q&a box at the bottom of your screen and we will put them to her at the end of the presentation. Thank you.
Just Secondly, a note from our comms officers to say while we're waiting for husband to come back to remind you what's coming up in the next couple of weeks, which is again, an incredible set of speakers next week. We've got Sharon shake from India, talking about digital culture in India and really talking about the interplay between social media and popular culture and journalism, again, amongst very amongst very younger people there and then the week after we have Hamza side who is the co host of the kind of award winning podcast, the Trojan horse affair, and he is again going to speak about the kind of creation of podcasts and the investigation related to Islamophobia and education in Britain that was kind of serialized to video times.
And husband has returned. Welcome back. I see you're on your phone. We
can't hear you very well at the moment.
No, we can't hear you still no sound.
Think we should be able to hear you now didn't try speaking. Husband now you're muted. Try now. Yeah. Oh, we have here. Welcome back.
I'm so sorry. The power is off. I don't know.
Oh my goodness, no problem at all. I'm so sorry. It's okay. We completely understand it's happened plenty of times.
Now, I'm on my cell. Phone. I don't have the presentation. I apologize. But I can go over the projects that I that I meant that I'm going to mention
absolutely if if anybody is kind of who I know the Caitlyn have the presentation and content slides, we can do that for you. But if not, we'll happily talk we'll just talk as well.
Okay, okay. Yeah, so I was telling you about the available charcoal. I think I stay on the second story. The second story is about how deforestation in the Chaco region is linked to the European demand for coal and meat. You know, we found that every day just to satisfy the global demand for products from the Chaco trees have to be cut down roughly the size of 30 soccer fields every day. And the third story is a very telling case of land ages in Poway is a story about how the leader of a really religious sect, became the largest land owner in this region. And the last story is, it's about how indigenous communities have become environmental defenders. We publish the story in 2000 in 2017 in a scholarly telling format, which is a solution that we found to a user problem how
do you can you tell us a bit what scrolly is
yes Crawley telling so squarely telling is it's a format that allows that allows the user to navigate information, text and powerful graphics are their own rhythm with a simple gesture that I think defines millennials and the generations after that, it will be up and down movement of the thumb that we all know and do when we're on social media. So that's scrolly telling. And it's a format. It's a very simple format, actually, that combines text and images.
And that's what we're seeing on the screen at the moment.
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Thank you. And, and you've also listed, you know how you've been using memes because you have a you did have you covered kind of a presidential speech.
Yes. Every year yeah. Every year, the president of Poway has the constitutional constitutional duty to inform Congress and the population in general, what he has done in office. It's pretty much like the US State of the Union address that happens annually. I don't know if there's an equivalent in the UK. It's an
Opening of Parliament with which the Queen
we know, in Poway, it can go very boring, it can be very boring, it can be very dull. And you know, on one hand, you have the president standing in front of congressmen throwing a lot of data, a lot of numbers that show his achievements. And on the other hand, reporters repeat what he says, right, the President said this and that. So we wonder how to cover the events in a way that will be different, useful and fresh. And well, the answer sort of came up pretty easy. We decided to fact check the data that the President presents to Congress. So that is what we have done since 2018. In doing so, not only did we become the first news outlet in Poway to verify in real time the President's speech, we were also the first editorial staff that open the newsroom to selected members from our audience who wanted to collaborate with us with our fact checking effort. But what I want to emphasize here is something that you already mentioned, it's our latest innovation that we have decided to add means to our fact checks. As always, we want the attention of younger audiences, their main target, we want them to get informed. We want them to engage in the public discussion about the President's performance in office. So we thought that the best way to update to give it a fresher look to this coverage was with memes. And it was not the first time we did it. Actually, we've made extensive use of memes in our recording. Like I mentioned, we make a lot of use of pop references from graphic novels, comics, movies, and so on. In order to establish a deeper connection with our with our readers, we try to publish in a contemporary language that they can relate to. Well, memes are just great for that right. And, well, we have more reach engagement than other news outlets in social media by doing this, and then other news outlets took our findings and republish them, but what's even what's even better for us is that traditional media some newspapers started fact checking the president's address to Congress. Also,
didn't this sounds like a very impressive strategy and a highly risky one because you're doing something live with comedy? On a topic that's incredibly important being said, being spoken by somebody who also assume thinks he's very important. So has it has it has anything gone wrong or would you do anything differently?
I think no, I think that we will do we will do it. All over again. We believe that no topic should be boring to audiences and serious coverage can be done with memes with graphics with images, that's for sure. And we have learned that in the past six years and and we've also learned that but this this is in general, not only not only this is not only about the use of memes and graphics in our reporting. We also think that we sort of should be more like memes, memes as a framework for approaching journalistic innovation. What do we mean by this? memes have qualities and we found that they have qualities that journalism and journalism should could emulate, to get closer to new audiences to compete with all the information this information that's out there, and to also improve the effective use of our resources? So we like to think that we are good at incorporated incorporating some of the qualities of themes to approach journalistic work. What are those qualities like? The question well memes are adoptable means are agile means are community driven. What do we mean by adaptability, right? adaptability to reach more people and to be more sustainable. Our output our production should be adaptable to different platforms, just like memes are in order so that more people can read our work. We believe that we newsrooms should be able to use and reuse our their app output as many times as they can. So by this we mean that it's key that pieces of a publication can adjust easily to your website, or all social media platforms, or that they can flow easily on messenger apps for instance, like memes. Then, memes are agile and GDB is great for relevance right? We have to be fast means the news move fast, and we should be able to identify quickly how we can contribute with our coverage and test our ideas with audiences in a recent in a reasonable timeframe to stay relevant. So our production has to adapt and respond to an environment that's changing a lot. And then, by community driven within that means only makes sense with others. Sharing journalism as well. Our duty is to keep Yeah, our eyes and control power, the ones above us the 1% about the rest. But we should never leave out the rest. That's what we mean by being community driven. A journalist who's very dear to me once told me that we have become so obsessed with the top of the mighty journalism that we forgot the race of the people journalism. So as a result, we have seen how skepticism of the media continues to grow hand in hand with the spread of disinformation and lies a threat to our democracies for sure. And one of the reasons for this is that disinformation is passed on through networks of of affection as we have seen through WhatsApp, family WhatsApp groups, we believe that a way to counter media skepticism, media distrust, and the fast spread of disinformation is to bridge gaps with audiences by allowing them to participate more actively in the news making process by being more transparent about our news making process with them by listening maybe more attentively to their needs, their doubts, their complaints and taking those into consideration. So that's what roughly we mean by being more like memes and not only using them in our work.
Thank you. Can I just stay on this topic? Just one quickly, we have a question from Priti stallion, who is one of our journalist fellows who's looking at accessibility and news in particular, you know how people various disabilities can access news and are treated by by journalists and journalism. And she wanted to know, how do you adapt or do think of adapting your means that you can visual products for those who are visually impaired? Is there any process? Is it kind of any kind of conversion to text or audio?
Oh, that's, that's a great question. And we still have a gap. In there. And we're trying to figure out how to adapt our images for visually impaired people, for sure, for sure. And we're actually our product manager. She's now part of an artificial intelligence project, where she's trying to figure out how to how to protect to our images and design that for the visually impaired, for sure.
Great, thank you. I'd really be interested to know how that goes. It's something we're looking at. Yeah.
I will share with you the findings of that, that work with that project. It's a great project. Actually,
really sums it. Great. Thank you. Let's go back to talking about about your stories and talk us through the Esquel as Fumigatus project.
Oh, yeah, great. Yeah, yes, this call is in danger of poisoning due to unlawful angry business. Practices. Yeah. This is a story about more than 7500 students and more than 1000 teachers from 90 schools in the countryside of Poway, who live with a threat of suffering poisoning by agrichemicals. From nearby plantations. They shouldn't live with this danger with this threat, because because there's a law that establishes how far away plantations should remain from schools, hospitals, parks, or any population in order to safeguard them from agrochemicals, actually, but we found with public information and satellite imagery, we were able to identify crops that break this law. So what was the challenge with the story Our challenge was how to best portray this very pressing environmental health issue and we solve it by locating all the schools in danger in a map that users can easily navigate, as well as the database that fits the map. However, in order to make sense of our findings, we have to explain to our audience what this law is about and how in theory it should be applied. We could have done it in 300 words, we could we could have written 300 words about how the law works. But we believe that for clarity and for empathy we have to show with images how the law is supposed to protect children. So what we did, the solution that we came up with was the sticky scroll that you now can see on the screen. The sticky scroll format, which is very similar to the scaly telling, it allows the user to navigate the information, the information, text and images at their own pace. And the images appear on the background. The images appear as this as the user scrolls down, and they're very useful to visualize with more precision. What the text explains this was a great tool and it is a great tool for the purpose of providing as much information and context as possible to our audience, so that you know our task of for instance of our task of conveying the danger that kids and teachers are exposed to will be much easier.
You that looks really terrific. And I do encourage him to go and have a look at it because you can really explore and even without language, you can see what you're really trying to do that. I'm gonna have one last topic can be talking to them. We'll open it up to questions, but let's talk about podcasting. So I think that's the next format you're looking at. And, again, I'd be interested to know what your strategy is there and how this fits in with your visual storytelling strategy.
Yeah, for sure. So we have a podcast that insert is for this past year. So nodo is a product podcast that we produce monthly to share long form stories with audiences. We think of podcast as a visual format. And why is that because we believe that the act of listening triggers very powerful images in our heads, and they're very great the the act of listening is great to appeal to strong emotions. Our podcast showcases stories from the dictatorship era on and also the period of time where we transition to democracy and more recently, we make an effort to let the protagonist and witnesses talk about the events that are described in the podcast. Our reporter who specializes in podcasting, he's in charge of coordinating the production. Well, we decided to do a podcast to register stories that are just mesmerizing or fascinating or movie or moving. But this is these are stories that usually don't make the headlines or are not part of our official account of history in Poway. These are stories that don't usually involve big public figures. And instead they're about common people, right communities, neighbors who like everyone. They all have a story to tell that can actually wade into a larger story that comments on our collective desires, tribals, fears and hopes. We thought that podcast podcasting was the best way to share these sorts of stories because we're a pretty oral society. What I mean, which is one of our native languages, is widely spoken, but it's not necessarily written. And this tradition permeates all of us even Spanish speakers. So it made it made a lot of sense to us to keep an oral record of memories that are mainly transmitted pass on orally. And for sure, podcasting has been great for us. It has helped us grow our audience we reach new followers that we wouldn't be able to reach otherwise with podcasts. They have an
audience is that a different audience to the ones who follow your can will visual? No,
not necessarily but they're mostly mostly on the under 24 years old. That from urban areas but cats have an average completion rate just to tell you a 5%. The audience spends at least 15 minutes 15 minutes on average listening to our podcast. So you're wondering about about how does deep does this feed right into into our strategy? We believe that there podcasting is an ideal format to share stories and three are empathy and solidarity in ways that other formats cannot. And they're a great antidote to divisions that are so common today. They're great too for defying prejudices and stereotypes and podcasts demand careful, kind attention. They predispose us to listen to pause to reflect more. And like I mentioned, they're very visual they invite the listener the listener to imagine the situations that are described in the podcast to put themselves in other people's cans are recorded in charge. He likes to say that instead of drawing the story ourselves, we live the task to the listener to do that in its head.
That's really beautiful. That's a kind of beautiful edge. Then you've conjured up an image that I can see of sitting there and someone said, I'm going to go down now to the journalist fellows in the room because I think there are a lot of questions arising from the points you've raised. I will start with Robin. Thanks.
Thanks so much. This is so interesting. You mentioned at the start that you have the designers in there at the very beginning of planning the story, and I wonder whether that changes the content at all, whether it's more about just telling the story that you would have told but in a more effective way.
So just repeat the question there. It's when when designers and storytellers come together at the beginning to create the content. Do the designers ended up changing what comes the product that comes out? Or do they take the content they're given and find the most effective way of producing it? How interactive is the process?
Yeah, I think the answer goes around the second part of the question. The designers and illustrators don't don't change our content, and they're more focused on what's the best way of telling the story that they have in hand. What's the best way of giving more substance maybe with illustrations to the texts that they have to work with? For sure the answer goes, moreover, you know more around the second part of the question, they don't necessarily change or alter the content of of reporting, because we have to be very careful. Reporters have the duty to be very rigorous and precise with the information that we provide. Yeah.
Thank you. I'm gonna go to the the q&a box where there are lots of interesting questions as well. And you've talked about how you've talked about your independence and the fact that you're reaching new audiences and really going to places where the legacy media don't go and you know, and are unable to go in many ways. And this is a question from Swathi Bakshi, which is, what does that can you talk a little bit about your revenue models, because generally independent outlets do struggle, you know, in this everywhere. So we'd be really interested to know how how your business is going financially, what your revenue models are.
Yeah, for sure. From the start we decided not to pursue for profit advertising strategy, just to start with that. We don't necessarily have the audience to compete for ad dollars or whatever he is. And so when we also wanted to prioritize and compromise journalism, so grant funding supports at least half of our operation 50% of our budget comes from from Grant grant funds, and the remainder is largely financed by selling services. We have learned that our skills in visual journalism could be in high demand. So we're trying to now market these expertise. 80% of our revenues are generated from communications costs. Consulting, we have established a separate business unit. We have trained other people. We have like an ad hoc team that replicates our infographic products for private organizations and firms. These are organizations that follow our work, they like our work and then they come to us. And they say, I want my communications campaign to have the same look that your publications have. So we have a team for that. And now that has worked that has we established that two years ago, and now it represents 18% of overnight revenues. Then an additional 17% Last year came from our regional training program. We have a training program program called Latino graphic ads. Our goal there is to foster visual journalism throughout the region by training other newsrooms in our methodology we select our illustrators, reporters designers from from countries in Latin America, and we launch the program in 2020. Like I mentioned with an open call to help combat disinformation about the cubby 19 pandemic, and then we did another edition last year. And so what the program what we did is we taught people we taught our fellows how to transform quality reporting into visual pieces are very easy to read. They're very easy to understand, produce, remix and share, especially on social media and 17% of the revenues. Overall revenues came from this program from sponsors that really liked the program, and they wanted to support it. And so yeah, so we're trying to diversify our revenue model. It's definitely a challenge. Like, we're all going through this challenge and trying to figure out the right, the right formula for that and we're working on that for sure.
Thank you. And the very first model you mentioned the kind of the, the consultancy work for private corporations. How do you make sure that audiences are very clear that this is this is a journalistic product from your organization and this is a kind of paid for corporate product? Is it kind of branded differently? Do you use different colors or does it
branded differently for sure all of our journalistic production comes with our logo with with also you know, science and that that tell the audience that these are our journalistic publications, also, their communication, for instance, our communications campaign for for, for an NGO. We wouldn't publish that on our website or on our social media. We produce for other firms and NGOs, organizations. We produce products that they will use so lately. We don't we we don't offer our social media or our website to share their production that we have at the outfall team.
Let's get back into the room and Hannah.
Hi, my name is Hannah. I'm from Norway. Thank you for being here. I was wondering, are there there any types of stories that you found don't really work are really hard to visualize and that you should shy away from?
Is there anything that doesn't work and types of stories that don't work with your format?
So far? All the stories that we wanted to approach with visuals have worked well with officials. I couldn't think of a story that it didn't that we couldn't tell with our weather images. I think that for every story, there's a possible there's a way out with compelling images. Things are very hard to cover in Poway but because of security reasons, is drug trafficking. For instance, we don't go over that we don't have enough I think guarantees to cover those issues but it has nothing to do with our with our format. So pretty much all stories can be tell can be tall can be narrated with powerful images, but of course they're very complex issues that demand 2000 or 3000. Report with reading text and and we do that we do that we just make sure that we also have a way to go on social media with with our JPEG files or slides and stories and pair that long form text or even our podcast with with images with the images that were produced with illustrations. Yeah,
thank you. Um, there's a question from the audience from Kimberly brown related to this which is the you you want to use images to generate empathy but you use illustrations rather than photographs. And is there a conscious, deliberate decision to stay away from photography or is that elsewhere?
We've also use photography for sure, but it's a decision it's a decision that we that it's a bad also we bet on, on on illustrations to generate empathy and when we find that we have to use photographs. We have done photographs, as well. Thanks.
Thank you. And back to the room known to Louis
as me, I'm released from Brazil. Thank you for having us. My question is did you ever had a your episode the credibility question and because of the format in which you publish your stories?
The question has your credibility ever been questioned? Because of the format?
Yes, we have. We have some people, especially at the beginning, they didn't think that we were serious about our reporting, because we use drawings. And but that has changed. I think that has changed. Throughout the years we have proved ourselves to be serious journalists who are after serious coverage. We just decide to do our series coverage with with illustrations in powerful graphics. But yes, that's a good question. Because it has happened. It tends to happen the people over don't take. Don't take images sometimes seriously think that we're not being serious enough about issues but no, we have used images to cover very difficult difficult topics like sexual abuse, helmets, homicides and things like
that. Eric, he's seen from from Taiwan is in the kind of online audience and was asking related question about objectivity. So most audiences still kind of hope or want their news media to be objective. And how do you tell certain things through this process when it comes to visual? Generally Yeah.
Well we take a different approach to how we present ourselves to our audiences. One of our principles is that we are to be transparent, and we out. We kind of assume that we're not fully objective like like everyone, right? We're always telling a story from the angle we see it from from from the position we're in. So we're trying to be transparent with that with our audience where we tell them where we come from, what our sources are. So it's much more important to us to be transparent rather than then objective. When it comes to the choice of images. We try to Yes, we try to be balanced and we try to follow principles that I think apply to all kinds of journalistic work also, we try to show diversity in our images. We try to not reveal demise, we try not to glorify perpetrators with our images. We are careful not to portray stereotypes. Like I mentioned that we tried to define prejudices and stereotypes with our images. We try to not be explicit with violence when it's not necessary. We try to respect families and victims themselves. So for us that's much more important than being objective means It means more to us to take a position in regard to the choice of images, these positions rather than being objective. We don't how is it that it doesn't like being objective doesn't actually tell us much about how or guide as much about how we should portray different situations, different reports.
Thank you know, back into the room because Nick in from Indonesia had a kind of question kind of that touches on this on access of distribution and bandwidth. Okay.
Hi, Jasmine, thank you for coming here in Asia. What else about how you
deliver your story?
Your visual story reached the audience in the in the blank spot area or via internet and how you deal with that situation? Delivering sorry, with that kind of inequality in infrastructure. Thank you.
Thanks. Thanks, Nick. This is how do you deal how do you reach audiences in blank spots where you know, we're, we're bandwidth doesn't really exist to mobile data can be practiced. Yeah.
Well, we owe that to the audience that doesn't have internet access for sure. We're more focused on young people who are in urban areas who for sure have access to internet penetration is much better these days in power than than done before than when we started six years ago for sure. But we don't necessarily have a strategy to get to those places where there's no internet access. Yeah, that's the short question.
Young calling for more internet penetration. Oh, good. Simon from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has done a great deal of work on graphics as well.
Hi, yeah, thank you. I was just curious whether you had kind of a set of third party platforms that use support as kind of standard and you any target for publication like do you do Insta Stories Do you publish on Google's web stories format? Or do you kind of do that as a as an ad hoc story by story process?
Which platforms do
you do you use for your stories? Do you use the same platforms or do you do it as a ad hoc? Does it depend on the story or do you have certain platforms you use all the time? Oh,
yeah. If I got the question, right, because kind of cut at some point. Oh, we are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We are also for podcasts, on Spotify and other podcasts, app services and we tried to be an all in all of them especially on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for sure. For every publication that we have, we try to to publish in in all those those platforms. And for sure, our website. Yes.
And what controlling sorry, curious what kind of relationship do you have with the platform's? Do you know the local representatives have you Are you happy with the reach you get on them?
It couldn't be better for sure. Their relationship with with representatives but we do we do have? We do have conversations and under contacts and when we need them we approach them with with issues that we need to solve on those platforms, but definitely could be better we could have
been. What's your wish list? If it could be better what would you like?
Oh, we will definitely want to have a same in the politics of of their algorithms. For sure. There has been so so many changing changes in algorithm politics that we don't know about and that have had a huge impact on on on our on our reach. Right. But I It has happened to all news organizations, I think. Yeah, I think that's that will be my wish list. I would love to understand better what can choices they they take they make when when deciding what the algorithm will be like.
I think that's again, something a lot of media organizations. Ask about generally. Going back to the online audience, this question from Sonali Sandelin della which is when when establishing and suddenly what what kind of bureaucratic challenges did you overcome? What What were the kind of biggest obstacles to kind of setting up and growing?
Well, for sure, sustainability funding. The first two years of authority. We were all doing side jobs and security was not our main job. It was not my main job. Only it was in 2018. I think I started earning a salary from uncertainty. That was our goal. When we started we said we want to make a living with these you want to be able to live fully just by being journalists, right and editors. So that for sure that was a that was a an obstacle that we that we fortunately we over came another obstacle and I think that happens a lot with emerging media that we start up news organizations because we want to publish stories that we think they're not out there that are not well covered. And however we don't know much about management. And that's key. I think I if there was something that I would have loved to know more about when I started and suity will be management. Management is so important. It is so important. To have a business unit. And and accountability in order. It's it's key. It's key to our survival and especially also when the team starts growing. There's so many tasks that we have fulfilled only in the past few years. Only in the past few years is that we started like drawing our workflows, designing our code ethics, establishing better communication channels, internal communication channels. Communication that of us organization can be very difficult and and that's something that we should all work on for sure. Like it Yeah, it's not a guarantee that just because we're journalists will be good at communicating within our with ourselves. there for sure. So those are things that those were obstacles for sure, like sustainability funding and management skills, leadership skills to
Yeah, it's really interesting, which will get you in some of our programs. Final questions. We've really given you a very busy hour, especially given that you're sort of doing this on your phone from Shindo. colombiana which is a what does success look like to you? What are your KPIs if you have them what what's the success measure?
Right now or for the future,
now and the future? Well, the future
well to me, success will be to survive, to remain to remain alive as a news organization for 20 more years. Success will also be that the news organization continues after us that I might just as well take a different path go to another news organization which I don't want to force but that other people will come in and and follow our path and follow or principles and the way we approach journalism I think that they'll be successful. Sure. And right now success is reaching more people. Yes. Yes. Growing our audience for sure.
And what is your audience at the moment, like how many people are you reaching? Yeah,
on average every week. 300,000 people we have more than 150,000 followers on all social media. And we reached like three, the double the double dot number.
That's not bad at all. And one last question for me about trust. Do you have a sense of how trusted you are in the media space, and especially compared to the older media, the legacy media, amongst the public?
I feel that we're trusted when we open up spaces to talk with our audience more closely. They always respond. They're always members of the audience willing to collaborate with, for instance, our fact checking efforts. There are always members who want to join us and come and visit our newsroom. Those are things that transmit
trust to me, and it's something that you're doing but I don't get the sense of the news. Organizations and paraglide doing anything like that.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think that's something different that Yeah, from the rest of the news from the rest of news organizations,
just been thank you so much been it's been the most enlightening hour, and it's such incredible work you're doing and all the very best of luck and thank you for joining us. Thank you
so much. Meera, thank you for for the hour for the opportunity to share with you what we're doing in parallel again, apologies, because I had to join you know, from my cell phone, so sorry, so sorry about that.
Really glad you could rejoin and we will share the visuals. In future so don't worry about that. And take care. Bye bye.