Mr Omar, a world leading mobile journalist, is the co-owner, with wife Sumaiya, of mobile journalism business Hashtag Our Stories, and will discuss modern functionality at the INFORM Media Summit in Sydney on Wednesday, September 6.
As mobile growth continues, so will the democratisation of news, Mr Omar argues, allowing people around the world to engage with current events and share information immediately.
Mr Omar believes mobile journalism allows the average person to share their opinion and stories with others around the world, giving journalists a plethora of perspectives that may not have previously been available.
“All mobile journalism, in its true sense, is the democratisation of media, the ability for everybody on the street to be able to tell a story, and I believe that if we can listen to those voices and use technology to better aggregate, we will effectively have more sources.
“Obviously, more perspectives, more sources, more cameras can only lead to more truth.”
Just as traditional video journalism has evolved, so has mobile journalism, with the mobile medium moving past the smartphone’s video function. Mr Omar is now utilising wearable technology, such as Snapchat spectacles, to film video alongside social applications Facebook Live, Periscope and Snapchat.
“The definition [of mobile journalism] is being highly contested by people who care. I, in particular, don’t care and I don’t think the audience cares what device you film on. I think they just expect a good story,” Mr Omar says.
“The purist, or the traditionalist, would say that mobile journalism is content that is strictly shot on a mobile phone, edited and published from that device.
“I believe mobile journalism more encompasses the one-person-band storyteller, the ability to shoot, edit and be on the run. I often call myself a jeans journalist, all the equipment I need fits in my jeans.”
Mr Omar’s passion for mobile journalism, or as he refers to it – mojo – began in 2010 as he hitchhiked through Africa, finding himself in Cairo during the first Arab Spring uprising. Since then, he has travelled to the Congo and Vietnam, chasing stories for eNews Channel Africa. He later joined the Hindustan Times in India, training more than 700 staff in mobile journalism before moving to London to work for CNN.
The vision for his company, Hashtag Our Stories, is for the complete democratisation of news. He hopes that “eventually we can have news and social channels in absolutely every language in the world without distributing a single camera, without having a single camera person out there”.
The INFORM News Media Summit will be held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on Wednesday, September 6. Entry, including to Mr Omar’s his session, is free to all NewsMediaWorks members, with non-member tickets costing $199. Registration is essential for all attendees.
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