Since Hashtag Our Stories was launched in October 2017, co-founders Sumaiya and Yusuf Omar have travelled to over 40 countries around the world training and empowering communities to tell their own stories.

From tackling HIV in South Africa to India's first Gay Pride in Delhi, the mobile journalism network has helped create 'global, raw and intimate' vertical video stories on smartphones that bring communities together.

Having secured a $150,000 investment from Snapchat in the company’s startup accelerator Yellow, they will be continuing their mission in 2019: telling more stories created by citizens, curated by their small team of journalists.

You will find daily content on their Facebook page and Snapchat account, where the company is also currently testing out its new storytelling filter - but not the colour effects or location tags you might be used to.

Instead, citizen journalists can load instructions on-screen that guide them through what type of shots to take and how to tell their story, raising the bar of what user-generated content can be.

In this week's podcast, Yusuf and Sumaiya explain how they are creating toolkits for citizen journalists, hoping that anyone will learn to tell visually engaging, structured stories.

They also share why they believe their news model can help the media offer more perspectives and truth to wider audiences, while helping communities tell the world about the issues that do not often enter the mainstream news cycle.

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