Free Press Unlimited has localised the StoryMaker mobile app for Ethiopian users. The app offers training modules and an editing suite and users can publish to a variety of platforms. Creating compelling, professional reports just became a lot easier for Ethiopian journalists: all they need is a mobile phone.

Better coverage – in both senses of the word

When something important happens, someone with a cell phone is usually nearby. In many countries, the most newsworthy events are covered by citizen journalists. And professional reporters can’t always carry around a news camera. Free Press Unlimited wants to increase the impact of their work – by helping them produce more professional-looking reports.

21st-century journalism

Mobile phones have become a key tool for content creation. That’s why in 2012, Free Press Unlimited decided to create a new, open-source app that allows people to share their stories with the world. The app was developed in partnership with trusted technology partners and journalism experts. Using easy, step-by-step guides and templates, StoryMaker helps professional and citizen journalists to produce new content for local audiences – and share it with the rest of the world.

Step by step

StoryMaker combines a full editing suite with learning modules about journalism, photography, audio and video and storytelling. The free app makes editing easy – even for users with minimal experience. Starting with the basics, users learn how to create interesting, polished and accessible reports. StoryMaker explains which shots will work best for your specific production. It doesn’t just show you how to make content – it teaches you how to tell a great story.

Localised

StoryMaker’s latest version has been adapted for Ethiopian users. It offers examples and illustrations that relate to local contexts. And its content has been translated into over 14 languages, including Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya.

Illustration of citizen journalism

A new tool for journalism education

StoryMaker has transformed the way journalism is taught. The app makes it easy for users to engage in self-learning and practice – both in and outside the classroom. Journalism students have access to a solid training curriculum and a comprehensive editing suite. Features like this have made StoryMaker a key tool in Jimma University’s Media Studies bachelor programme.

Going round the obstacles

StoryMaker allows anyone to produce tailor-made video, audio, and photo reports, using nothing but the phone in their pocket. Citizen journalists can create independent news reports for their communities. Professional reporters can keep working under conditions that used to hold them back. StoryMaker allows journalists to significantly increase their skills, knowledge and level of professionalism. In Ethiopia, an accessible tool like that can make all the difference.