Independent Media took its annual “16 Days of Activism” campaign to a new level with highly emotional and effective mobile journalism initiative, Vasantha Angamuthu, chief strategy officer at Independent News & Media South Africa, explained at the 2017 INMA World Congress in New York City.

“We’re looking year on year at campaigns that we could drive using our various print and digital platforms. 16 Days of Activism, or the project which is called Don’t Look Away, came about because typically what we would do as a media company is write stories about levels of abuse and violence. We thought this year we’d have a slightly solutions journalism approach to it where we would run the statistics but actually tell the stories behind the statistics.”

The best way to do this, Angamuthu says, is in the first person.

“All of our interviews were with woman who were survivors of some of the worst kinds of abuse you could imagine. We did a very traditional journalist sits down, ran it in print, and then we took the stories and we decided to put them in video. And of course you couldn’t do that by doing an interview. The identity of these women needed to be protected.”

That’s where the company’s mojo (mobile journalism) team stepped in. Using the interviews they did on mobile devices, the journalists retold the stories in a video format. 

“This very young team of largely interns took those stories and rescripted them for video. We used staff to act out when we did a mini film, but some were white board drawings to capture their stories.

“We hope that that kind of personal story telling would be more effective in terms of everyone finding ways in which they can either just signal their support for a campaign like 16 Days of Activism or participate more meaningfully, either by giving time or donations to the shelters that are working in this space.”