Nearly 150 beginner, intermediate, established, and aspiring content creators gathered at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism’s (CEJ-IBA) ‘Click! The Digital News Ideathon’ to learn how to monetise their content and diversify their revenue streams to sustain their platforms.

The event was organized by the CEJ-IBA in collaboration with Deutsche Welle Akademie (DW).

Multimedia Journalist- Sabah Bano Malik kicked off the event with a warm welcome to the audience and spoke about the constant evolution of the digital landscape. CEJ Director, Amber Rahim Shamsi opened the event with a call to action:

“We need to reinvent journalism, how we gather news, where we distribute it and how we engage with audiences.”

'Click! The Digital News Ideathon'

In his opening address, Ambassador Alfred Grannas highlighted the partnership between the CEJ-IBA and DW, and encouraged participants to learn how to monetise, with a caveat: “Make money- become millionaires! Just do not forget your duties as a journalist” In his opening address to the audience, acknowledged the draw of making money through social media platforms and highlighted the partnership between the CEJ and DW.

The first panel discussion for the day, ‘Journalist or Influencer’ invited panelists- including Sahar Habib Ghazi, Shehzad Ghias, Syed Muzammil and Azaz Syed- to reflect on the Pakistani news audience’s desire for serious content, and the blurred lines between journalist, influencer, citizen journalist and vlogger.

Moderated by Amber Rahim Shamsi, they also addressed how to deal with negativity on social media platforms.

Broadcast Journalist Syed Muzammil spoke about the various models, platforms, and strategies available for content monetization, and gave several tips on how to get the most out of the digital space.

‘Identify your area of expertise. Create an audience. Substance matters.’

Selected participants were then invited to attend breakout sessions, where they learned about making monetization work for them- not the platform; and why diverse revenue streams lead to better content.

Content Creator and Entrepreneur, Amtul Baweja spoke about her personal journey in leveraging her social media to become an entrepreneur. She shared her experiences in discovering what kind of content worked and what did not, and the challenges she faced in dealing with trolls and haters. She also weighed in on whether influencers can be called the entrepreneurs of today.

Journalist Alia Chughtai moderated an engaging panel discussion on ‘Clickbait,’ where panelists including Munazza Siddiqui, Ali Warsi, Maria Memon, Zeeshan Ahmed, and Risham Waseem discussed the accusation that content creators and digital news platforms often use misleading headlines to bait audiences. They also examined the advantages and disadvantages of ‘Clickbait’ and discussed alternatives.

The event was attended by established and aspiring content creators alike, who were then invited to join a hi-tea arranged by the CEJ.