Yusuf Omar is Changing What it Means to Be a Journalist

So many of us avoid news at all costs due to its negativity and inaccessibility. Major news outlets have grown removed from reality, and Yusuf Omar is countering just that with Hashtag Our Stories.

Yusuf’s Story

Throughout his short yet prosperous career thus far, Yusuf has contributed to several different publications and organizations worldwide including CNN where he worked as a Senior Social Media Reporter on Snapchat, and The Hindustan Times where he was a Mobile Editor.

He has also won tons of awards including:

  • Mobile Short Video Of The Year- 2018 Mojocom
  • Snapchat Social Impact Storyteller- 2016 Ghosties
  • Mobile Journalist of the Year- 2016 Thomson Foundation
  • Journalist of the Month- 2016 International Journalism Network
  • Top 20 Global Millennial- 2016 Cliff Central
  • Editor’s Choice Journalist of the Year- 2015 Vodacom

Yusuf encourages young journalists all over the world to take control of the stories they tell through exhibiting the seemingly limitless capabilities present within our phones alone.

Currently, through Hashtag Our Stories, Yusuf is combining two up-and-coming components in the field of reporting: mobile journalism and constructive journalism.

Read more about how Yusuf got to where he is today here.

MoJo

Mobile journalism, or MoJo, is precisely what it sounds like. It entails capturing, editing, and sharing journalistic content all through smartphones or mobile devices.

One of the massive perks of MoJo is affordability. Yes, smartphones can be a bit pricey but in comparison to professional grade audio and video equipment, buying a smartphone isn’t much.

Additionally, mobile journalism allows for full autonomy. You can produce your own high quality content wherever, whenever, and however you want with just as much of a platform as traditional news outlets.

This lack of equipment is also extremely discreet when trying to cover stories and also decreases any intimidation your subject may feel when spotting the massive cameras, lights, and microphones.

The internet allows you to share content with the entire world through posts, live-streaming, and more.

Intimacy is at the heart of mobile journalism. By using your smartphone you can get much closer to a subject than through using other types of equipment.

Many journalists believe that mobile journalism is the future of journalism altogether.

Constructive Journalism

The next part of Yusuf’s mission, is just as exciting.

Aren’t we all tired of seeing every news outlet only plastered with the problems present in the world? Violence, social injustice, and war are all broadcasted without any coverage on the solutions individuals worldwide are also taking part in.

Well, constructive journalism plans to solve just this. Rather than simply focusing on the issues present, this type of reporting is solutions-based.

The National Council for Voluntary Organizations put it best saying,

Constructive journalism isn’t about ignoring negative news or covering fluffy, feel-good stories. On the contrary, it covers stories with importance to society.

A perfect example of how Yusuf merged constructive and mobile journalism was  three years ago when he utilized Snapchat filters to hide the identities of rape and sexual assault victims in Mysore, India.

#OurStories

Yusuf’s most major project is the online-publishing organization he co-founded, Hashtag Our Stories.

This platform aims to empower individuals to tell stories with their phones.

Some recent stories they’ve covered include: dry January in the UK, the Januhairy movement, and the rampant fines within Singapore.

Anyone is able to contribute to this platform. Simply e-mail info@hashtagourstories.com or get in touch via their Facebook or Instagram pages.

Yusuf’s motives and movement is inspiring and truly represents the future of journalism as younger generations demand authenticity, transparency, and the ability to tell their own stories.

Cover image via Hashtag Our Stories


Also published on Medium.