A few months ago I was asked what sort of mobile phone I would recommend for a journalism student. Knowing how tight student budgets are, and that any choice should have as much of an eye on the future as on the present, I recommended getting an Android phone.
The reasoning went like this: iPhones are great at certain things, and currently benefit from a wider range of applications than other mobile phones. But the contracts are expensive, the battery life poor, and Apple’s closed system problematic, for reasons I’ll expand on in a moment. Continue reading →
In my MA Online Journalism session this week I’ll be looking at mobile journalism. As part of that, below I’ve compiled 4 lists of things I think a mobile journalist needs: hardware, software, systems, and mindset. I’d welcome anything you can add to this.
In the spirit of mobile journalism, I will also be streamed the session live on Bambuser from 9am UK time on Thursday, for around 45 mins – if you can join us online and chip in, please do. I’ve embedded the player below (skip past it for the lists of things a mojo needs).
A note from the comments
Some comments rightfully point out that this list is potentially terrifying. I’m not suggesting you need all these things – my favourite response said that you needed a Posterous blog, a smartphone, and lots of batteries, and I’d go along with that. But here are a whole lot of potential things to explore when you get itchy…
Mobile journalism – hardware
Smartphone with camera, video, audio, unlimited data plan
Digital camcorder, e.g. Flip, Kodak Zi8
Digital dictaphone or Zoom (a Livescribe pen is also useful)
Portable mini tripod?
Batteries (including extra mobile phone battery)
Extension lead – and chargers
Portable chargers, e.g. solar
Mifi and/or 3G dongle
Wifi laptop or netbook with webcam
Mobile journalism – the software
Apps for your phone and services you can email or text to. Good ones include…
Spinvox – blog via voice
Twibble – GPS twitter updates
Zyb – synchronise contacts and calendar
Opera Mini; on iPhone use bookmarklets on Safari like ‘Read Later’, ‘Post with Tweetie’, ‘Save to Delicious’, ‘Share on Tumblr’
Qik, Bambuser, 12seconds – streaming video
Posterous – blog via email (shutting down April 2013)
ZoneTag – geotag images
JoikuSpot – create wifi hotspot from 3G phone
Mobile journalism – the systems
Email must be set up – more than one account as backup (Google Mail occasionally goes down)
Useful phone no.s, e.g. Twitter, Twitterfone
Useful emails, e.g. Twitpic, YouTube, Twittermail, Facebook, Posterous etc.
Map of wifi hotspots
Map of mobile and 3G coverage
Blog via email or text – Postie plugin/Posterous/app/etc.
Pulling RSS feeds from Twitter/Flickr/YouTube/Posterous/Tumblr/Google Docs
Embedded players for livestreaming/liveblogging
Geotagging information for mapping
Preparation: web-based video/audio/image editors
Collaboration – preparing the users, hashtags, tweeting, feedback
Mobile journalism – the mindset
‘Always-on’ approach – tweet on the go; share images; stream quick video. Think humour, art, quirky, as much as ‘news’. Prepare yourself and users for when you need it.
Play with new mobile tools – follow TechCrunch etc.
Try out mobile apps
Find the stories that are not online
Be part of a mobile community – follow people like @documentally @alisongow @ilicco @patphelan @moconews
Be creative with mobile, not formulaic: the rules aren’t written yet