A five minute entrée to your news diet.
In these turbulent times, finding news sources that are trustworthy and accessible has been more valuable than ever.
That’s where The Daily Aus comes in. Amassing over 80,000 followers on Instagram with their eye-catching infographics on Australian news, their page has reached cult status among their Gen Z and Millennial audience.
Now the creators, former political staffer Zara Seidler and ex-corporate lawyer Sam Koslowski have begun the next phase of their journey. Launching The Daily Aus podcast this month, Zara and Sam deliver “a five-minute entree to your news diet.”
Here at Forte, we chatted to Sam about the success of The Daily Aus Instagram page and their latest foray into podcasting.
How did you and Zara begin working together?
I started the Daily Aus myself in 2015 but quickly realised that I wanted to do it with someone because it was getting a bit lonely by myself.
So I put a post up on Instagram saying ‘I’ve got a cool new news project idea, does anyone want to do it with me?’ And Zara replied!
We’ve spoken every day since and now we’re absolutely best mates.
Going from being a lawyer to working in social media is a big jump! What encouraged you to make the change?
I worked for five years at Fox Sports before I became a lawyer. So journalism is really, really in my blood.
My dad’s a journalist, my brother’s a journalist, I grew up around newspapers. I always knew I wanted to end up working in the media, but I’m also really passionate and interested about human rights so I thought I would do a law degree as well.
So I started there as law is such an important thing to know, but my passion is with journalism.
There are so many ways to share content online at the moment. How did you decide on Instagram as your initial platform?
So our whole philosophy is that reading the news should be as easy as finding a TV show to watch on Netflix, or finding a song on Spotify.
We wanted to meet people where they already are. We want you to be looking at pictures of your friends doing cool shit, read a little bit of news, and then keep going back to your pictures of cool friends doing cool stuff.
We basically sat down and went, ‘Okay, where do we think there’s not enough news, and we can add some value?’
When we started Twitter was massive for news, so we didn’t think like our audience would be there.
Facebook was also massive for news and still is, and Instagram just wasn’t. So when we started, there was hardly any news content on Instagram. People had to go elsewhere for news. So we just combined the two together to reach our audience of 18-25-year-olds.
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Instagram is such a visual medium. Did it take a bit of experimenting to work out the best way to present the news in an attention-grabbing way?
Yeah! So at first we started with just like a key title, then all the information was done as a caption in the comments.
Even we were getting bored reading our own pieces! So it was really important for us to move to that carousel format, where the text is actually embedded as an image.
That allows us to really play around with visual representations of data and statistics as well as quotes and putting faces to names. So we’ve stuck with that carousel version for a long time.
I really, really enjoy reading the pieces now. They’re really easy to read. It’s a really friendly way to read the news. And the easier we can break down these huge issues, the better we’re going to do.
Now you’ve expanded your content to podcasting! What made you choose audio over video content like YouTube or TikTok?
The reason why we got into podcasts was that we wanted our content to be as accessible as possible.
So for visually impaired readers or followers of The Daily Aus, we wanted to make sure that there was a really clear avenue for them to be on top of the content.
The other reason is that we saw a massive expansion in news podcasts last year. But there still wasn’t a news podcast that’s directly targeted at young people and helps young people understand the real building blocks of the news.
We wanted to make sure that if we were going to say that somebody moves to the crossbench, that we actually explained what the crossbenchers are.
We did play around with TikTok because that’s where we really want to expand to as well.
What we’re struggling with on TikTok at the moment is an interesting news-only problem. Because the For You Page isn’t chronological, people were getting old news presented to them.
We do aim to start using TikTok for more explainer content that doesn’t rely on the day’s news.
We noticed the runtime of your podcasts are 5 minutes and under. Why did you decide to make them so short?
So we are in a really unique position where we’re actually a part of the audience that we’re trying to target. So we’re not in our late 40s, talking down to Millennials and Gen Z’s, we are the same generation.
I know that our attention spans are really short. And that’s what actually our generation problem to fix, it’s the media’s problem to adapt to.
So if we can convey the same level of information as a 40-minute podcast, in five minutes, I’m giving you some key ways to expand your knowledge.
You both have started this podcast at the perfect time, as there’s so much going on in the world right now that young people are trying to navigate!
It’s been a really stressful few weeks for Australian media, but I also think it’s been equally stressful for consumers of media.
Last week they had to take a step back and consider where they’re getting their news from, and how they’re consuming news.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it just makes everyone more conscious about the information that they’re consuming, which is great.
But I think when we come out of this period, we’re gonna see a generation that is perhaps a little more thankful and conscious of where they get their news from.
This is awesome for young media companies like ours because we work to get people thinking about how they read the news. For young publishers that use an innovative format on social media, it’s actually an amazing opportunity.
It’s never too late to start being a music listener or a newsreader. But it can be scary to start.
We’re here to help and make it not that scary.
Make sure to follow their page on Instagram and check out their podcast below.
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