“We don’t have a website:” AJ+ on the future of news

“We don’t have a website.”

The uniqueness of the 2-years-old AJ+ is all hidden in this one sentence that was repeated the most in the session hosted by Hugh O’Connor, Dolly Li and Tawanda Kanhema from AJ+ – a news organization that doesn’t have a central website, but lives primarily on social media.

AJ  team

“AJ+ feeds your hungry social feed needs,” said Tawanda Kanhema, the product manager for digital platforms at AJ+, when asked to conclude the media organization in one sentence.

Horses for courses

As a result of not having a website to host its content, the young team has gone the extra mile to optimize content for different social feeds. You can find them every where on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Medium and YouTube, as well as on Apple TV, but none of them is exactly the same.

“Not every piece of our content is suitable for every platform,” said Dolly Li, the creative producer at AJ+.

Take the short documentary for an example.  Ten-mintue AJ+ documentaries, produced weekly, don’t perform very well on social media, but are much more successful on Apple TV.

Interacting with your Audience

Another secret of AJ+ is that the team has made great efforts to interact with their audience on social media.

“When we plan for a video, we also plan our comments along with the video on social feeds,” Li said. The team is actively engaged with their audience, collecting what people are looking for and what extra information is needed on the audience’s end.


Being solely on social feeds opens a lot of possibilities for AJ+, but also a few limitations. The team found it extremely difficult to host interactive graphics. Small mobile screens have made interaction a frustration, but they figured out a solution – gifs.

No need to move your fingers for click your mouse. The graphics play itself.


The solution has worked so well on the AJ+ platforms that the team has created their own channel on Giphy. See more of their gifs at: http://giphy.com/ajplus