Explainer videos: Visual journalism for social platforms

In a fast-moving world where audiences can feel overwhelmed with information, explainer videos are proving a popular way for people to understand how the world works.

Both informative and entertaining, explainer videos have fed the success of numerous independent YouTube channels, and now traditional broadcasters are starting to join the party with projects like BBC Ideas and the New York Times' Op-docs series. 

Focusing on different formats and types of explainer videos, you will explore the latest examples from news organizations and broadcasters and put what you learn into action with practical exercises.

With the right approach, you will understand how to make popular factual pieces that inform people about what’s going on in the world without compromising public service values.


  • Journalists, editors
  • News producers
  • TV, radio and digital producers


  • Audience: Learn what topics and approaches resonate with audiences on social media
  • Editorial: Identify factual content that works on social media
  • Mobile: Understand the limits and possibilities of content being watched on a small screen
  • Social: Format factual content for social platforms


  • The best examples of what broadcasters and news organizations are doing in this area
  • What we can learn from the flourishing ‘amateur’ world of explainers on YouTube and other platforms
  • How to use humour, argument and opinion to add flavour to your videos
  • The importance of the ‘sell’ - the thumbnail, title, description and first 10 seconds
  • How to do pacing, subtitles and pictures work differently when media is playing silently on the small screen of a mobile device
  • How to decide what topics will work well on social media
  • How to entice people by using popular subjects (sport, TV programmes etc.) as ways to explain important topics
  • How to take ‘dry’ or difficult topics and find ways to introduce them
  • The psychology of sharing - why do people share some videos but not others?


Day 1: from 1:00pm - 5:30pm (CET)

Day 2: from 9:00am - 4:00pm (CET)




  • Module 1: The new environment - what to bear in mind when videos are hosted on social platforms and accessed on a mobile phone: pacing, subtitles, the psychology of sharing
  • Module 2: The ‘sell’ - thumbnails, titles, introduction and opening 10 seconds
  • Module 3: Personality, humour & opinion - ways to add ‘flavour’ to explainers


  • Module 4: What we can learn from the ‘amateurs’ - looking at explainers on YouTube. How to choose socially-friendly topics. The mistakes TV producers make
  • Modules 5 & 6: Practical exercise - using what we’ve learnt on the course, individuals or groups script an explainer, afterwards comparing notes with other participants


As there is a practical element involved feel free to bring laptops with editing software, smart phones and so on. However there is no requirement to - the exercise can work well even if it’s only on paper.

Faculty member


Audience Editorial Mobile Social


27 - 28 Feb 2020


EBU, Geneva

Registration details

This course will run again on 24-25 September 2020. Click here for details.


  • 1st participant: EUR 750
  • 2nd participant from same company (25% discount): EUR 562.50
  • Additional participants from same company (50% discount): EUR 375 per person

The price includes tuition, course materials and coffee breaks. It does not include meals, travel or hotel costs.

Payment and cancellation policy


EBU Academy does not make hotel reservations. However, we have negotiated competitive rates with some of the hotels near the venue and the city centre. Please contact the hotel of your choice directly.

Hotels offering special rates for the EBU/Eurovision (pdf)

Working languages


Contact detail

Hélène Rauby-Matta
Business Development Manager
+41 22 717 24 21