Connecting with media colleagues around the world during the Covid struggle!

Connecting with media colleagues around the world during the Covid struggle!

Pulitzer award winning Mariel Padilla, left, talk about how to cover the pandemic as New York Times journalist from her parents home. Interviewer Chaitra Shamraya, right.


  • One of the very inspiring tasks that I have been engaged in during the lock-down is the Oslo Mediapod. Since the start a year ago, I have had the privilege to interview a nice group of colleagues worldwide. All of them have in common strong relations to Oslo Media House!

In 2020, over 155 million people listened to podcasts every week in the pandemic-afflicted world. As the popular entertainment industry globally laid off due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, the popularity of podcasts grew eventually. There are over 700 000 active podcasts and 29 million podcast episodes available. The popular age group for podcast listeners is between 25-44, which makes up 49 percent of total listeners today.

One will find a huge genre in the pod world; the most common format is interview-based. All you need is a microphone and an internet connection, and you pretty much have the tools necessary to make and publish a podcast. The digital world makes everything ten times easier; one has to plan the show format to create interesting, useful content for their audience. All you need is organizational skills to find your niche and find the right set of people to interview, interviewing skills, and the discipline to publish regularly. 

During the third week of lockdown, the idea to introduce The Oslo Mediapod came up, and we had a Skype call session. We tested the idea to use the webinar platforms, in this case, Skype, as the virtual studio, and smartphones as recorders. It worked so well! I had to crash-course on using my phone as a recorder and good headphones to avoid external noise from the computer. And, so we produced the podcast in a virtual studio, and the quality of the podcasts was impressive. I had to brush my skills as a podcaster, and it is a work in progress, I must say! Oslo Business Memo lined me up as podcasters; being a rookie, I learned my way and am still learning with each episode.

The Oslo Mediapod is about catching up with the journalists who have been related to the Oslo Media House during the years since it all started back in 2014. Oslo Media House, established in 2014, is a local and global hub, workshop, and ecosystem in Oslo, Norway, for journalists, writers, photographers, media innovators, and publishing enthusiasts. I was given the list of people connected to the Oslo Media House. I contact the guests and arrange for the podcast interview. The Oslo Mediapod uses the one-on-one interview format. With each episode, I learn about the guests' journeys and their accomplishments. I do my best to move toward the interesting and useful end of the spectrum, to understand how the media industry has been changing the world itself.  

One of my first guests was Annette Groth, a Norwegian journalist who has served as a correspondent in London and Washington, DC. The author of the book has nå? (2017) is her latest edition in Great Britain in Brexit times, the EU referendum. She is a humble person with 40 years of experience working in broadcasting, radio, and correspondence in the British Isles, explaining what the media industry is currently lacking. In the digital era, where filming and reporting can be done by oneself in a room, the journalists have stopped stepping out for field reporting. She says, “Journalists must get out more to talk to the public, connect with people, and hear interesting stories of common people”. So, is the digital era, breaking us from connecting with humans, remarks on spilling hatred on social media.  

Australian journalist Ivo Burum is an award-winning writer, director, television executive producer, and author of 'Mojo-The Mobile Journalism Handbook' and 'Democratizing Journalism Through Mobile Media'.  He was one of the first members of the Oslo Media House, with several mojo courses here. The mobile journalism expert, who has over 30 years of experience in fact-based reporting, producing multimedia content for more than 35 countries, is a lecturer at La Trobe University. During a pandemic, the in-person classes moved to online has challenged Ivo to make practical videos online. All his courses are on videos, and he provides a live tutorial for his students. He says, “taking the glass full attitude and working as all journalists worldwide, and my students have actively participated in online classes of TV programs producing content every week during lockdown”. 

An internationally emerging filmmaker is Ortence Rwimo. Ortence is a storyteller, a co-founder of Exile Key Film Production based in Kakuma Refugee camp. She has worked on stories from the displaced and affected communities. She is an award-winning director and has won best script, best Actress, for her movie “It has killed my mother”. Ortence educates the community, speaking about the issue, especially stories about women displaced and affected by war. Her vision is to use the power of film to educate society. She says, “I want to tell stories of women, especially because the strength and resilience are not shown on big screens, a woman we can change the world through films”. In the midst of a pandemic, Ortence breaks down a script about a woman's journey from her home country to Kakuma refugee camp. She will soon start with production, and hopefully, by the time film is ready, she will be able to submit it to film festivals. In that way, the film gets recognized internationally. 

I am immensely grateful for OBM to give me this opportunity, to believe in me that I could pull off seventeen episodes and maybe some more in the months to come. The whole journey has been fulfilling; interacting with authors, experienced journalists worldwide, writers, editors, and award-winning directors has been an enlightening experience. The conversations I had with the guests gave me another perspective, and it is so important to interact and learn from each other, even if they are miles apart from you. I take this moment to thank Oslo Business Memo for producing and sponsoring it for Oslo Media House.