When Mosheh Oinounou was 23 years old, he started his journalism career working as a researcher for Chris Wallace at FOX News Channel in 2005. Within two years, he was a network campaign reporter, embedded with multiple presidential candidates. By 2009, he was running international news coverage for Bloomberg Television. At just 29, his talents caught the attention of executives at CBS and he was hired to help launch CBS This Morning with Gayle King, and then oversee the launch of CBSN, the network’s first 24-hour streaming news channel. He closed his run at CBS working as the youngest-ever Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News.
When he left the CBS building for the last time in 2019, he decided it was time to take a break from the news business altogether. “I was ready for a pause from the 24/7 grind. I launched my own consulting firm, and nine months later, COVID hit,” he says. “For the first time in my life, I found myself as a consumer of news sitting on my couch during a huge story, and not in a newsroom.” It didn’t take long for him to realize he needed to be back in the game. “I couldn’t resist. It’s like the Godfather quote, ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’”
Oinounou felt Instagram was the best place for him to tell a story chronologically, so he started doing reports for friends and family through a private account until his wife suggested he share his content with the public. “I started with 500 friends and family following me, and within weeks, I suddenly had thousands.” Soon after, he saw boldface names including Nick and Joe Jonas, Sharon Stone, Condoleezza Rice, and Instagram boss Adam Mosseri were following along, too. The account now has nearly 400,000 followers.
A year into Mo News on Instagram, he started a daily newsletter, and a daily podcast with journalist Jill Wagner. “We deliver the most important and interesting news of the day in a conversational way, and have found an audience that is 30 years younger than network news and the traditional media outlets. Our median consumer is a female in her mid-30s. Millions of people are now engaging with our content every week.” This year, Oinounou launched the Mo News Premium subscription platform and has several thousand people who pay 7 dollars a month for special perks like exclusive interviews with newsmakers and behind-the-scenes content.
When it comes to disrupting the digital news space, he offers these tips. “Go to where the audience is. Embrace new platforms and customize your content for them. Be ready to be agile and pivot. Most importantly, listen to your audience. So much of the traditional media has failed to recognize that news consumers now demand more. It is now a two-way street. They want to be heard, ask questions and are seeking more transparency.”
Reinventing News Sourcing: TMX’s Path to Success
Led by former NBC News head of booking Matt Zimmerman and former network news anchor Lynn Smith, TMX is changing how newsrooms access content and connect with experts. Zimmerman started the company in 2020 with a group of former journalists who wanted to get contacts for newsmakers along with verified and editorially sound content. In 2023, Smith was training experts who struggled with getting on the radar of top tier media when she and Zimmerman connected. “Matt and I came together realizing we could provide value to everyone.” Today the company has a growing clientele of 250 newsrooms.
A Newsroom In A Box
Smith, who serves as the company’s Head of Access, says she and Zimmerman saw how newsrooms were having to reduce their staff based on higher content costs so they wanted to provide a service in which newsrooms could be more productive and focused on what makes their brand more profitable. “Our online platform provides newsrooms with all the content they need to create the news,” she says. “Newsrooms go onto the platform to download trusted content they need and now they are able to request experts on the topics they are covering. Experts are able to reply on their side with what newsrooms are looking for.”
While they continue disrupting the ways newsrooms stack their shows, and how experts find opportunities, Smith sees the powerful role social media and tech startups can play in bringing today’s news to consumers. “My advice for anyone looking to innovate within the digital news space is identify an unmet need, determine the solution and if the solution doesn’t exist, then build it.”