Digital media expert: Put the audience first

April 07, 2021
The revolution in audience analytics has enabled journalists to produce stories that resonate with their audiences in a far more intimate way than any other time in the history of the profession, according to Riyaad Minty, TRT World’s digital director and social media expert.
Speaking at a Northwestern Qatar class on journalism in the digital age, Minty explained how newsrooms around the world are increasingly utilizing analytics and metrics in their editorial decision-making to analyze audience insights and transform their storytelling and news products into personalized experiences.
“I’ve found that journalists in traditional media outlets like to produce content for themselves and their peers, which is very disconnected to how the world actually works and how people consume media,” noted Minty, stressing the importance of making newsroom decisions with the reader in mind to better serve the different segments of their audiences.
Minty, who led the development of AJ+’s digital content strategy, added that in order to target an audience segment that is “easily distracted, likes to multitask, and is constantly on the go,” his team has adopted a new form of visual storytelling that incorporates the use of social media video to tell the news in less time and a more concise manner.
Minty also noted that recent advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are helping journalists and media outlets increase audience engagement by providing insights that increase a story’s emotional pull. “Netflix, for example,” he said, “uses different thumbnails for the same content that is optimized based on your actual habits,” adding that the same algorithm is applied by news companies and websites to make content more appealing and relevant to the user.

In his current role, Minty is leading the digital restructuring of TRT World. He spent a decade at Al Jazeera as part of the network’s new media team, building the network’s global strategy across social platforms as the head of social media.