Tag Archives: mojo

Up close and personal? Mobile journalist Twan Spierts on reporting with smartphones

twan spierts

Dutch journalist Twan Spierts says mobile journalism doesn’t just get the job done more quickly — it can also get you better access. Interview by Jonny Jacobsen.

When Dutch journalist Twan Spierts first starting using a smartphone to cover local football matches, his colleagues looked askance at him.

“All the other journalists, all the other reporters there, looked at me and thought ‘Okay, that guy’s crazy,’” he recalls.

But not the players. “They didn’t mind at all.”

That was the point when he thought, well, if the people he was interviewing didn’t care what kit he was using, then why should he? Continue reading

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Magazines and digital: a report from the PTC Academies and Industry Forum

Suzanne Kavanagh reports on key insights and highlights from the Periodicals Training Council (PTC) Academies and Industry Forum, at Bauer Media’s central London office.

Editorial is at the heart of management at Bauer, said the company’s CEO, Paul Keenan, who explained how they work across media and events for brands and are embracing digital.

Keenan provided several insights into the industry and Bauer’s business – helpful information for anyone applying to get into the industry: Continue reading

What does a mobile journalist need?

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 mic
  • Portable mini tripod?
  • Batteries (including extra mobile phone battery)
  • Extension lead – and chargers
  • Portable chargers, e.g. solar
  • Bluetooth keyboard
  • Mifi and/or 3G dongle
  • Eyefi card
  • 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…
  • Shozu
  • Spinvox – blog via voice
  • iBlogger
  • Audioboo
  • Twitterfone
  • Twitvid
  • 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
  • Google Maps

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
  • Mashups
  • 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

Model for the 21st century newsroom pt.6: new journalists for new information flows

new journalists for new information

new journalists for new information

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.

Information is changing, and so journalists must too. In the previous parts of this series I’ve looked at how the news process could change in a multiplatform environment; how to involve the former audience; what can now happen after a story is published; journalists and readers as distributors; and new media business models. In this part I want to look at personnel – and how we might move from a generic, hierarchy of ‘reporters’, ‘subs’ and ‘editors’ to a more horizontal structure of roles based on information types. Continue reading

N97 gets touch screen – but here are 10 reasons the iPhone already sucks compared with the N95

Nokia have unveiled the N97 and Robert Scoble makes a compelling case for its superiority over the iPhone. Curiously, many of his points mirror ones I had prepared in a blog post comparing the iPhone to the N95, giving me the perfect excuse to finally publish 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:

  1. A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
  2. No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
  3. 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).
  4. You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
  5. No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
  6. Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
  7. No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
  8. Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
  9. Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
  10. 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…

Live coverage on Twitter – useful or just plain annoying?

My live coverage of the Investigative Journalism Goes Global conference seemed to polarise opinion among the Twitterati. The Guardian’s Neil McIntosh and Charles Arthur, the BBC’s Bill Thompson, and Pete Ashton all unsubscribed from my updates – and those were just the ones I know about. Continue reading