DCN Fall Exchange | Participant’s notes!

Did you know that you can have rainbow text οn Instagram or that if you want to increase your audience, engaging, regularly posted and WOW Instagram stories is the way to go?

Did you know what deepfakes evolved from an academic paper to online application in just 2 years?

Editor: Aynur Ablai*, UX and Digital Strategist at Inițiativa România / Oracle Systems Solution Engineer | DCN Exchange Participant

Between 12th and14th of September, I attended the Online News Association conference, in New Orleans, representing Inițiativa România, as part of the Digital Communication Network Exchange Program that is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by World Learning.

The most popular subjects on the agenda of ONA were audience engagement through social media, immersive journalism, technology and fake news. While its focus was on the media, I could learn a great deal about how I can make use of social media to build up audience for Inițiativa România websites and social network pages/profiles and got me thinking about how we in Romania will handle the invasion of fake news around the elections.

Here are some interesting facts for me to take back home…


The majority of our projects are on WordPress so I took the chance to go to their WP VIP session.

They showcased the block editor and demonstrated the easiness and simplicity of using WP.

For a small NGO or company, without many resources and skills WP is a good option.

In IR we are all volunteers so having a platform that saves time it’s crucial for the project development.

The tricky part is that, because it is so easy and because you have so many choices for plugins, you eventually come up with something that is not optimized.

Still with some training and discipline you can create some super creative websites like we did with www.onceinromania.ro, www.onceinromania.ro/civicavengers, www.romania-alege.ro.

Social Media

Instagram Stories tips that could be of help for you:
— Cater for young people
— Go heavy on videos
— Tell stories quickly
— Add sound and subtitles
— Use creative tools (GIFs, image and video editing apps for mobile and desktop)
— Record videos vertically if you know you will post them as stories
— Use the built-in functionality like text, stickers, rewind camera, motion pinning, and boomerang
— If you are a small company/NGO share a story 1–2 times a day and if you are an enterprise then you can go up to 10 times
— Be consistent
— Be WOW

Fun fact: You can add Instagram Story links (swipe up) to increase the reach for your pages if you have more than 10.000 followers. Diana, we have a job to do!

Facebook Groups tips:
— Use groups to engage at a deeper level with your audience
— Keep everything in one place
— Pin posts and announcements with time limit
— Recommend similar or related groups
— Filter membership requests
— Sort membership requests by category and use questions for entry while setting rules, auto accept or auto deny
— Tag & organize posts

Cross posting: Facebook & Instagram
Use Creator Studio facebook.com/creatorstudio to connect your Instagram to Facebook page and schedule and post from creator studio on desktop.

Best practices for social media:
— Keep it authentic
— Use creator studio for efficient posting
— Cross post to Facebook & Instagram

Virtual and Augmented Reality

VR and AR have started being popular in journalism.
They are used to recreate scenes of crimes or to educate on different causes like poverty, women’s education, eco behavior, and environment.

They have also been used to create a better experience than the one photos or videos could offer for the user.
It still takes a lot of time to create a 3D scene/object but applications are evolving rapidly mixing machine learning with AI.

Misinformation, Disinformation and Deepfakes

Another interesting subject that was discussed during the ONA session was misinformation, disinformation and deepfakes and the power that they have in manipulating people’s opinions and creating political destabilization.

To face these challenges important newsrooms in America have created fact checking teams to filter the stories that are real.

However, it is very difficult to stop the fake news from spreading across social networks including Whatsapp. One way to help people not to drown into the sea of lies is to educate them to investigate the veridicity of the news, to check if the source is reliable or not, to get information from more channels.

Deepfakes have evolved from an academic paper to applications in 2 years, however tools that can check if they are real or not are being developed.
The election date is closing in and we in Romania have to be prepared to present accurate information to our citizens.
We are getting ready with a new version of www.romania-alege.ro just for the presidential elections. Follow Inițiativa România to find out more.

Overall it was a very interesting conference. The perfect space for people in media to network and share ideas.

Looking forward to the new chapter of this exchange program as a DCN fellow at Artists For Humanity.

#ExchangeOurWorld #DCNFall2019 #DigiComNet #ONA19 #WorldLearning

http://digicomnet.org is an international association connecting professionals of the digital age to generate ideas, tools, products for media, NGO & government