Credit: Screenshot: Wips.digital Instagram

A social-first news organisation has launched this month in Argentina to serve young audiences news content mainly on Instagram.

Based in Bahía Blanca, Wips.digital produces all of its news content with mobile phones and uses desktop software to create its own filters to tailor the content for social media.

It puts a new touch to traditional journalistic techniques like, for example, the anonymous interview. Using home-made filters to silhouette the interviewee and distort their voice, Wips.digital reported on domestic violence natively for Instagram, its main platform. (See below a video with English subtitles)

"Many times I’ve had to do this type of interview and I now realised that I was able to create the shadow or change their voice," said Matias Amigo, mobile journalism trainer and founder, Wips.digital.

"So I taught myself - I just checked YouTube. I’m not a genius, anyone can do it, but you have to mean it and want to do it."

In addition to the anonymous interview, Wips.digital has also created filters around the coronavirus awareness campaign which Instagram users can then use for themselves on the app.

Testing out the Coronavirus Barbijo filter by Wips.digital on Instagram

This is all possible with a team of just nine, four of whom are student journalists and work solely on Instagram. Wips.digital does have a website, but Amigo said this is more of an afterthought. The team's priority is to reach young, active social media users.

"My idea is to talk to younger people in a fresh way with information from all over the world, not just our city," he explained.

It is currently supported through a mixture of sponsored content with companies such as Shoulderpod, Motorola and Alight Motion. In return for sponsored social posts, the newsroom receives mobile journalism equipment and software.

It also receives monthly income from the government representing about 90 per cent of its operational costs. Amigo takes inspiration from Spanish digital newspaper Eldiario.es which publicly discloses books as an act of transparency.

He also plans to roll out memberships as part of its business model, as well as commercial agreements with other companies and their social media accounts. The future strategy would show where its funding is coming from and how it is being put to use.

"I want to do that because its about empathy and transparency. I want to tell our audiences about how we spend their money," Amigo said.

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