Launched in 2018, Innovation MediaLab worked alongside the beneficiary media outlets to produce creative narrative formats, enrich editorial content, strengthen digital communication strategies, and bring about an overall improvement in journalistic skills and good practice.
The activity implementation phase was intense and encouraging results were seen from the first year. The unprecedented and prolonged health crisis that began in 2020 had a huge impact on the beneficiary media outlets, which faced numerous challenges such as the reorganisation of their activities, the weakening of their business models, job insecurity and a reduced production capacity.
New narrative formats and new journalistic approaches
However, we have seen positive results overall. The French-language editorial offering has grown as a result of new narrative formats such as videos, podcasts, video podcasts and photo reports being produced, but also as a result of the new journalistic approaches of solutions and explanatory journalism being applied.
Thanks to defined SEO strategies and a good understanding of how to use social media communication codes, the editorial offering has expanded its reach.
An editorial offering for under 35s has been developed through the launch of formats that are in line with their consumption patterns and habits, such as videos and podcasts, and through the editorial coverage of issues that better reflect their expectations and needs.
Technical expertise and skills were consolidated so as to produce content that meets professional quality standards. The lessons learned will come back to the fore when it comes to developing new ideas and producing new content.
70% of the beneficiaries are female, half of whom are under 35
The digital audience of the beneficiary media outlets is increasing or remaining stable. The number of unique visitors to the 24h Algérie website currently stands at 80,000 per month, which is 20,000 more than when its content launched in June 2020. The YouTube channel of the Lebanese media outlet L’Orient-Le Jour recorded 1,100 views in less than 24 hours when the first episode of its video podcast series “Aux urnes citoyens [To the ballet boxes, citizens]”, which was produced to cover the Lebanese legislative elections, was broadcast. As of today, the eight episodes have a total of 23,000 views and 8,500 subscribers.
The results are also positive in terms of the “gender” dimension of this project. In fact, 70% of the beneficiaries were female journalists or entrepreneurs, 58% of whom were under 35 years old. As regards the experts providing support, 42% were female, of whom 65% were under 35 years old. Content combating gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality was also produced.
Expertise that meets expectations
85% of the beneficiaries stated that the methodological and educational approaches applied by the experts providing support, as well as their listening skills and availability, helped them to improve their technical and editorial skills without compromising the editorial identity of each media outlet.
Finally, even though lessons learned are capitalised on throughout the project from implementation onwards, this step is currently the subject of an independent analysis. It is an important phase as it transforms actions and experiences into learning outcomes that can be shared among the teams, and these three years of Innovation MediaLab activities have provided plenty of experiences.
Innovation MediaLab has been supporting three Algerian and Lebanese digital media outlets since November 2018: 24h Algérie, an Algerian general news site, Labneh&Facts, a digital Lebanese site for 25–35 year olds (in French) and Yomkom, a digital Lebanese site aimed at young people (in French and Arabic). Since January 2022, Innovation MediaLab has also been supporting the Tunisian and Lebanese digital media outlets, Jaridaty and L’Orient-Le Jour.