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
Information is changing. The news industry was born in a time of information scarcity – and any understanding of the laws of supply and demand will tell you that that made information valuable.
But the past 30 years have seen that the erosion of that scarcity. Not only have the barriers to publishing, broadcast and distribution been lowered by desktop publishing, satellite and digital technologies, and the web – but a booming PR industry has grown up to provide these news organisations with ‘cheap’ news.
Information is changing. Increasingly, we are not seeking information out – instead, it finds us. The scarcity is not in information, but in our time to wade through it, make meaning of it, and act on it.
The iPhone is overrated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s got great usability, but for a journalist it just doesn’t compete. And here are 10 reasons why:
A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
You have to jailbreak the iPhone to use streaming services like Qik. Installing Qik (or Bambuser, or Shozu) on the N95 is pretty straightforward. The fact you have to jailbreak the iPhone at all says a lot about Apple’s attitude. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is open (if not open source yet).
You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
No external keyboards. You can buy a number of cute bluetooth keyboards for the N95 which make it possible to type updates and blog posts very quickly.
And that’s not to mention bloody expensive. If you know of any solutions to these weaknesses, let me know. You see, I do have an iPod Touch…