An interview with TODAY, a media platform experimenting with content formats to better focus on millennials
Media 101 with Yasmine Yahya, Supervising Editor from TODAY
What are the specific stories that you usually look out for?
Stories about ground-up initiatives that are seeking to make an impact on society, young people doing interesting things, stories that seek to explain issues that are relevant and important to our readers, whether that’s climate change, health, education, consumer trends, etc.
What should PR professionals take note of when pitching to TODAY?
We seek to write stories that are unique to us. Ideally, a pitch should present us with a story idea or opportunity that is relevant to our readers, resonant with the TODAY brand and not something that people would be able to find on any other news platform.
What trends & developments are you currently keeping tabs on in the business industry?
We’re largely concerned with business trends that ultimately have an impact on the consumer, such as manpower issues in the service industry, innovative uses of technology and interesting business ideas that also seek to benefit society in some way. Obviously, this is far from being an exhaustive list.
What’s unique about TODAY and how does it differ from other media?
We’re quite targeted in our scope of coverage. We want to make sure that we deliver news and features that are relevant and interesting to our main reader base, who are young Singaporeans, so we are very selective about the news we carry.
We also put a lot of thought into the treatment of each story. Not every news article or feature is going to be told in the traditional news format of paragraphs of text. Depending on the topic and the content to be presented, we might deliver the story in the form of a listicle, an explainer, a Q&A, a graphic or, yes, a traditional news story.
We’re still experimenting and trying out new ways of delivering the news in ways that are engaging and accessible to our time-starved readers who want to know the most important news of the day without having to wade through walls of text.
As TODAY has been experimenting with this shift, could you please share a few tips for brands to create content that is insightful, meaningful while delivered in a more visual style?
As in any other newsroom, we’ve found that close collaboration between our editorial and visual content producers is key to creating meaningful multimedia stories. We’re not a big team so to begin with we are very selective about which stories deserve that special visual treatment, such as a video or a graphic. And when we do decide to take that step, the reporter and the visual journalist/graphic artist work closely together to conceptualize the visuals, and they check in on each other throughout the process.
In the age of social media and peak content, we’ve also learned not to confine ourselves to formulas and templates. Some stories need simple graphics, some may need a video, some others might best be accompanied by an animated graphic on Instagram.
We’re also stretching ourselves to come up with creative ways to present our visuals. For example, nobody wants to watch talking heads for three minutes straight, so our videos try to break the mold with innovative camerawork and editing.
Are there any exciting upcoming projects or campaigns from TODAY?
We’re relaunching the site in May. We will be focused on executing the strategies I outlined above, but we hope to make clear with our relaunch that we are targeting the millennial audience – readers aged between 25 and 34.
That doesn’t mean dumbing down content. In fact, quite the opposite. Our readers can expect us not to simply seize on the latest trending hashtags and fads. We will continue to deliver content that’s insightful, meaningful and gives them the context they need to make sense of the world they live in.