This week, Al Jazeera launched a new app, AJ+, geared towards the millennial news consumer.
The app centers around stacks, with video content, chat options, and quizzes and polls. It’s an immersive news experience, focused on context. But what’s really interesting is the AJ+ editorial’s team methods. The content on the app isn’t pulled from Al Jazeera and repackaged for the app — it’s specifically for the platform.
They have an editorial team and and engagement team; they call their morning meeting an “engage-atorial” meeting, as a perfect blend of the two. Executive Director of Strategy and Development, Dr. Yaser Bishr says:
The core changes are in the workflow. We give a lot of power to the engagement team and our journalists on the ground that make it unique…Icome from a software background, so I can talk forever about the features of the app. I look at the apps and everything around it as the way to tell the story. The change is the way we operate.
The have journalists on the ground all over the world and regional fellows: they divided the world into six regions to have a fellow in each one, to report on important stories and events, but also to “manage and curate,” as Bishr puts it, a social, local community in that region. They received over 3,000 applications for the six positions. Bishr says that those who didn’t make it have also connected over social media and have their own, organic group to share news.
The goal of the app and the AJ+ team is to, according to Bishr, to change “not just the way news is gathered and produced, but also consumed.”